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Full text of "Dancing with Helen Moller; her own statement of her philosophy and practice and teaching formed upon the classic Greek model, and adapted to meet the aesthetic and hygienic needs of to-day, with forty-three full page art plates;"

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o     THE  lIBfiARY  OF    o 

11    THE  UN 



An  Invitation  trom  the  Author. 

Throughout  the  text  of  this  book  I  have  used  the 
impersonal  pronoun,  "we,"  in  proper  acknowledgment  of 
the  fact  that  the  basic  ideas  expressed  therein  are  already 
accepted  by  a  large  number  of  the  healthiest,  the  hap- 
piest and  the  most  contented  inhabitants  of  this  and 
other  countries.  They  are  of  all  ages,  from  six  and  seven 
years  up  to  sixty  and  seventy.  They  are  not  all  "Greek 
Dancers,"  by  any  means;  yet,  owing  to  the  natural  and 
wholesome  lives  they  live,  in  common  with  us  who  dance 
with  the  Arcadians,  doubtless  some  of  them  will  feel  the 
impulse  to  celebrate  their  hundredth  birthday  in  that 

It  is  possible  that  you  are  one  of  this  constantly 
increasing  multitude  of  the  healthy,  the  happy  and  the 
contented;  if  not,  you  are  cordially  invited  to  join  us; 
not  necessarily  in  our  dancing — although  that  is  the  best 
and  most  efficacious  way — but  as  an  active  enemy  of  all 
that  is  false  and  ugly  and  a  practicing  advocate  of  what- 
ever enters  our  lives  that  is  true  and  beautiful. 


The  Temple, 

New  York, 

New  Years  Day, 


Many  of  the  photographs  reproduced  in  this  book 
were  taken  by  the  author  herself.  For  the  privilege 
of  reproducing  other  fine  examples  of  the  pho- 
tographer's art,  she  desires  to  express  her  grateful 
acknowledgments  to  Moody,  to  Maurice  Goldberg, 
to  Charles  Albin  and  to  Underwood  and  Under- 
wood; also  to  Arnold  Gen  the  for  the  plate  on  Page 
36;  and  to  Jeremiah  Crowley  for  his  admirable 
arrangement  of  the  entire  series  of  illustrative  art 


^^HIS  book,  "Dancing  with  Helen  MoUer,"  is  a  new 
Lfl   message  of  beauty  to  modern  civilization.     Besides 

attempting  to  lay  the  foundation  for  a  new  move- 
ment of  terpsichory,  she  appears  as  a  priestess  of  an 
ancient  yet  neglected  truth:  the  return  to  nature,  spon- 
taniety,  simplicity,  health,  grace  and  happiness  by  means 
of  dancing.  In  doing  so  she  goes  wisely  back  to  the 
fundamental  principles  which  are  the  bases  of  all  folk- 
arts,  particularly  of  the  folk-dances,  and  the  ancient  Greek 

As  she  so  eloquently  expresses  in  her  series  of  philo- 
sophical essays  on  the  subject,  her  "dancing  is  Greek  plus 
American  adaptability  and  creativeness."  We  find  that 
no  Athenian  festivals  ever  were  celebrated  without  danc- 
ing. The  Pythian,  Marathon,  Olympic  and  all  other  great 
national  games  opened  and  ended  with  dancing.  The  de- 
signs with  which  the  gods  used  to  adorn  the  shields  of 
heroes  represented  the  dances  contrived  by  Daedalus  for 
fair-haired  Ariadne.  Socrates  danced  with  Aspasia  and 
Aristides  danced  at  a  banquet  given  by  Dionysius  of  Syra- 
cuse. Thus  the  Greeks  danced  always  and  everywhere. 
They  danced  in  the  temples,  in  the  woods  and  in  the  fields. 
Every  social  or  family  event,  birth,  marriage,  and  death, 

gave  occasion  for  a  dance.  Theseus  celebrated  his  vic- 
tory over  the  Minotaur  with  dances.  Apollo  dictated 
choreographic  laws  through  the  mouths  of  his  priestesses. 

The  best  Greek  dancers  came  from  the  Arcadians. 
The  main  aim  of  the  Arcadian  dancers  was  to  contrive 
the  most  perfect  plastic  grace  in  the  various  poses  of  the 
human  body,  and  in  this,  classic  sculpture  was  their  ideal. 
It  is  said  that  the  divine  sculpture  of  Greece  was  inspired 
by  the  high  standard  of  national  choreography.  Dancing 
in  Greece  was  performed  by  men  and  women  alike.  In 
some  of  these  dances  they  wore  a  loose  garment,  keeping 
their  arms  and  legs  bare,  in  others  they  danced  perfectly 
naked.  Through  dancing  the  Greeks  developed  such 
beautiful  bodies  that  they  disliked  to  hide  their  plastic 
lines  with  any  garments,  therefore  they  preferred  to  ap- 
pear naked,  and  more  so  in  the  temples  and  theatres  than 
in  their  homes  or  in  society.  The  fact  that  Greek  sculp- 
ture is  mainly  nude  can  be  attributed  not  so  much  to  any 
abstract  art  ideals  as  to  the  actual  custom  of  the  time. 

Helen  Moller's  ideal  in  dancing  has  been  the  same 
that  actuated  Rodin  in  his  immortal  works  when  he  said : 
"To  produce  good  sculpture  it  is  not  necessary  to  copy 
the  works  of  Greece;  it  is  necessary  first  of  all  to  regard 
the  works  of  nature,  and  to  see  in  those  of  the  classics 
only  the  method  by  which  they  have  interpreted  nature." 
Helen  Moller  says :  "I  am  by  no  means  copying  the  danc- 
ing of  Greece.  I  am  only  learning  from  the  ancient  Greek 
art  to  regard  the  essential  laws  of  symmetry  and  rhythm, 
Space  and  Time  in  nature.     The  ideal  of  my  art  is  the 

simple,  majestic  image  of  nature  in  all  its  simplicity  and 
grace.  Not  tricky  acrobatics,  spinning  whirls  and  spec- 
tacular technique,  but  soft,  spontaneous  expressions  of 
Mother  Earth  have  inspired  my  dancing." 

In  her  efforts  to  inspire  universal  love  of  dancing, 
Helen  Moller  follows  the  fundamentals  of  all  the  folk- 
dances.  All  folk-dances  have  their  peculiar  psychology 
which  varies  according  to  racial  temperament,  climate  and 
other  conditions.  Races  which  are  notable  for  quickness 
of  intelligence  display  similar  racial  characteristics  in  their 
folk-dances.  For  instance,  we  see  vivacity  and  love  of 
orderly  design  in  the  French,  pathos  and  pugnacity  in  the 
Irish,  sentimental  reflectiveness  in  the  Germans,  spas- 
modic vehemence  in  the  Hungarians,  the  passion  of  the 
Slavs,  etc.  The  vigorous  races  of  Northern  Europe  in 
their  damp  and  cold  climate  developed  dancing  as  a  spe- 
cial function  of  the  legs.  The  Scandinavian  folk-dances 
betray  more  heavy  and  massive  movements,  while  those 
of  Spain,  Italy  and  France  give  an  impression  of  romantic 
grace,  coquettish  agility  and  fire.  The  folk-dances  of  the 
Cossacks  are  usually  violent  and  acrobatic,  as  is  their  life. 
Energy  and  dreaminess,  fire  or  coolness  and  a  multitude 
of  other  racial  qualities  assert  themselves  automatically 
in  a  folk-dance.  In  the  Far  East,  in  Japan,  Java,  China 
and  India,  dancing  consists  in  movements  of  the  hands 
and  the  fingers  alone. 

As  with  all  other  arts,  thus  with  the  art  of  dancing : 
we  have  wandered  far  away  from  the  vigor  of  naturalness. 
We  have  neglected  the  subjective  issues  of  spontaneity, 

dynamics  and  directness  of  expression  in  favor  of  the  ob- 
jective issues  of  form,  polish  and  cleverness.  Academic 
minds  are  wont  to  put  a  stamp  of  amateurishness  on  most 
of  the  attempts  which  cannot  be  measured  with  the  scales 
of  a  given  school  with  its  technical  rules.  Dancing 
created  upon  the  principles  of  folk-lore  may  seem  uneven 
and  amateurish  at  the  first  glance,  yet  nature  and  human 
life  are  also  thus;  but  thank  Heaven,  they  are  not  arti- 
ficial and  sophisticated. 

The  fundamental  purpose  of  Helen  Holler's  danc- 
ing is  to  create  beauties  that  emanate,  not  from  a  certain 
school  or  method,  but  directly  from  the  soul  of  the  indi- 
vidual. Her  ideal  is  to  create  life  from  life.  In  order  to 
accomplish  this  task  she  goes  back  to  the  rhythmic,  plastic 
and  emotional  traditions  of  ancient  Greek  dancing,  to 
the  folk-dances,  the  metaphysical  and  physiological  laws 
of  life  and  nature.  Democracy  in  dancing  is  her  watch- 
word; subjective  individualism  her  supreme  aim.  Her 
tendency  is  not  to  seek  any  solution  of  the  art  of  dancing 
in  the  arbitrary  rules  of  certain  masters  but  in  the  very 
heart,  in  the  joys  and  sorrows  of  the  common  people.  In 
avoiding  artificialities,  she  has  put  into  her  system  of 
dancing  all  the  idiomatic  peculiarities  of  an  individual 
without  polishing  out  of  it  the  vigor  of  naturalness. 

To  produce  in  her  dancing  a  direct  expression  of 
living  Time  and  Space,  is  what  Helen  Moller  is  aiming 
at.  "Space  and  Time  are  the  fundamental  conditions  of 
all  material  existence — and  for  that  same  reason  the  in- 
evitable conditions  of  all  material  manifestation  of  man 

are  within  the  limits  of  his  earthly  being,"  wrote  Prince  S. 
Volkhonsky  in  his  masterly  book  on  the  ballet.  If  we 
agree  that  art  is  the  highest  manifestation  of  order  in 
matter,  and  order  in  its  essence  nothing  but  division  of 
space  and  time,  we  shall  understand  the  fulness  of  artistic 
satisfaction  which  man  must  feel  when  both  his  organs 
of  perfection,  eye  and  ear,  convey  to  him  not  only  each 
separate  enjoyment,  but  the  enjoyment  of  fusion;  when 
all  his  aesthetic  functions  are  awakened  in  him,  not  sepa- 
rately but  collectively,  in  one  unique  impression:  the 
visible  rhythm  penetrated  by  the  audible  simple  idea,  the 
audible  realized  in  the  visible,  and  both  united  in  move- 
ment. The  combination  of  the  spacial  order  with  the 
temporal  is  that  to  which  Helen  Moller  aspires.  And 
when  this  combination  is  accomplished,  and  still  more, 
when  it  is  animated  with  expression  of  images,  then  no 
chord  of  human  impressionability  is  left  untouched,  no 
category  of  human  existence  is  neglected ;  space  and  time 
are  filled  with  beauty,  the  whole  man  is  but  one  aesthetic 

The  fundamental  elements  which  characterize  the 
vigor  and  spontaneity  of  all  folk-dances  are  derived  from 
rhythm.  Rhythm  is  that  part  of  music  which  compels 
a  listener  to  join  with,  mimic,  body,  hands  and  feet. 
Rhythm  is  also  evidently  the  very  essential  of  nature  and 
human  life,  as  not  only  rain  drops  rhythmically,  but  also 
our  hearts  beat  rhythmically.  Step,  the  most  elemental 
form  of  expression  of  rhythm,  is  the  secondary  foundation 
of  the  dance.     Modern  musicians  and  dancers,  however, 

have  been  showing  a  tendency  to  ignore  rhythm  and  its 
essentials  of  motion  by  hiding  it  carefully  away  in  various 
sophistications  and  gymnastics.  Pure  unsophisticated 
rhythm  belongs  to  the  folk-songs  and  folk-dances,  the 
most  majestic  masterpieces  of  humanity.  In  order  to 
solve  this  matter,  and  rid  the  modern  mind  from  the  spell 
of  sophisticated  technicians,  Helen  Moller  has  launched 
her  system  of  dancing  by  keeping  in  view  the  same  natural 
principles  that  actuated  our  ancestors  in  devising  their 
folk-dances, — that  gave  immortality  to  the  dancing,  no  less 
than  the  sculpture,  of  ancient  Greece. 




The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 21 

The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 37 

Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 53 

Music:   Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 69 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 85 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 101 




The  Unfolding  Leap 20 

Expressing  Wistful  Expectation 22 

Atalanta — Expressing  Opposing  Motives 24 

Unfolding — An  Idea  of  Petals  Opening 26 

Adaptation  of  the  Classic  Idea  of  Pan 28 

Different  Individual  Reactions 30 

Rising  Upon  the  Ball  of  the  Foot 32 


Graceful  Swaying  of  the  Erect  Body 36 

Coordination  in  a  Very  Young  Dancer 38 

Self-consciousness  Wholly  Obliterated 40 

A  Playful  Spring  Movement 42 

Graceful  Management  of  Draperies 44 

Expression  of  Hands  and  Countenance 46 

The  Aesthetic  Value  of  Simple  Draperies 48 


Caryatid  of  the  Erechtheum 52 

Classic  Perfection  of  Repose 54 

A  Charming  Unstudied  Attitude 56 

Bearing  the  Bowl  of  Wine 58 

Hygienic  Raising  of  the  Chest 60 

Votive  Incense 62 

Sudden  Realization  of  Calamity 64 




A  Child's  Spontaneous  Interpretation 68 

Depicting  the  Arrow's  Flight 70 

Children  Facile  in  Forming  Impromptu  Ensembles    ....  72 

Classic  Movements  Interpreting  Modem  Music 74 

Reacting  to  a  Single  Chord  of  Music 76 

Reacting  to  a  Pizzacato  Movement 78 

Beauty  of  Line  in  Bacchante  Figures 80 


Achievement  of  the  Cloud-veiled  Summit 84 

Free  and  Vital  Dancing  Expression 86 

Reacting  to  the  Breath  of  Spring 88 

Floating  Forward  Upon  a  Summer  Breeze 90 

Avoiding  Unaesthetic  Angles 92 

A  Gentle  Expression  of  Aspiration 94 

The  Generative  Source  of  True  Expression 96 


A  Modern  Aurora  on  a  Misty  Morning 100 

Bacchante — Lustful  Anticipation 102 

Expression  of  Pleasurable  Relaxation 104 

An  Adaptation  from  Classic  Greek  Games 106 

Response  to  Manifestations  of  Nature 108 

Various  Interpretations  of  Pan 110 

Aphrodite — a  Woodland  Interpretation 112 



The  unfolding  leap,  illustrating  the  important  principle  of  open  free  unaf- 
fected management  of  the  entire  body  even  in  moments  of  muscular  stress. 

The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

^i^'ET  us  begin  with  an  intelligent  definition.  The 
w\A  s^^J^^*  discussed  in  these  pages  has  two  gen- 
eral aspects :  Dancing,  and  the  Art  of  the  Dance. 
Nowadays  the  Art  of  the  Dance,  like  Opera  and  the 
Drama,  is  confined  almost  exclusively  to  the  stage; 
whereas  to-day,  and  from  the  beginning.  Dancing  is  a 
natural  gift  provided  for  the  pleasure  and  benefit  of  all 

In  ancient  times,  when  human  nature  was  naive, 
its  natural  emotions  unrepressed  and  its  actions  char- 
acterized by  truth  and  sincerity,  dancing  reached  a  state 
of  purity,  grace  and  dignity  of  which  the  sophisticated 
world  of  to-day  knows  comparatively  nothing.  It  was 
artless,  in  the  sense  of  lacking  refined  technique;  but  it 
was  truthful ;  it  faithfully  expressed  emotion,  and  therein 
lay  its  surpassing  beauty.  Because  it  was  healthful,  it 
was  moral ;  being  artless,  its  enjoyment  was  universal — 
everybody  danced.  Joyous  emotions  being  Nature's 
first  Call  to  the  Dance,  and  such  emotions  reacting  most 


Expressing  wistfiil  expectation — the  hands  in  an  upward  receptive  gesture 
and  the  countenance  as  of  hope  for  some  yeamed-for  gift  from  above. 


The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

profoundly  to  the  influence  of  the  green  earth  under  the 
blue  sky,  dancing  was  mainly  an  open  air  diversion. 
Fashion  had  not  yet  attempted  the  destruction  of  the 
strong  and  graceful  human  form  by  loading  it  down  and 
compressing  it  with  fantastic  and  unnecessary  clothing. 
Doctors  and  medicine,  finding  no  place  in  the  Arcadian 
scheme  of  existence,  were  misfortunes  yet  to  be  invented. 
This  was  Dancing  in  its  Golden  Age — an  ideal,  worthy 
and  entirely  practicable  which,  fortunately  with  some 
success,  we  are  endeavoring  to  restore. 

In  a  score  of  thick  volumes  you  may  find  the  his- 
tory of  the  Art  of  the  Dance  set  forth  with  the  most  con- 
scientious attention  to  detail — and  very  little  of  value 
about  Dancing,  in  the  true  sense  of  the  word.  You  may 
learn  from  those  volumes  that  dancing  is  the  most 
ancient  of  the  arts ;  that  its  birth  was  coincident  with  the 
birth  of  religion ;  that  the  primitive  tribes  of  every  land 
danced ;  that  all  savages  still  dance,  and  that  every  stage 
of  civilization  has  been  marked  by  its  own  particular 
variation  upon  the  ancient  dance  theme,  with  the  people 
of  every  nation  exploiting  national  dances  of  their  own 
invention,  while  the  stage  has  added  all  its  traditional 
resources  of  exaggeration  and  spectacularization.  Thus 
you  may  learn  virtually  all  there  is  to  be  learned  about 
dances — and  miss  pretty  nearly  the  whole  idea  of 

Such  knowledge  is  not  to  be  despised.  A  faithful 
history  of  the  dance  is  the  virtual  equivalent  of  a  social 


Atalanta.  Depicting  the  classical  moment  of  the  most  intense  physical  and 
mental  concentration  upon  two  opposing  motives — to  win  the  race,  yet  pause 
to  seize  the  prize. 

The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

history  of  the  world,  reflecting  ethics,  the  graphic  and 
plastic  arts,  the  customs,  manners  and  costumes  in  all 
countries  and  in  each  successive  stage  of  civilization. 
All  this  material  is  of  special  and  legitimate  value  to  the 
stage,  which,  in  these  times,  exercises  a  function  of  por- 
trayal that  is  universal  in  its  scope.  Probably  never  be- 
fore was  the  daily  life  of  the  people  more  closely  asso- 
ciated with  the  atmosphere  of  the  theatre.  Thus,  more 
than  ever,  every  manifestation  of  decadence  or  of  prog- 
ress in  human  affairs  must,  sooner  or  later,  find  itself 
recorded  in  stage  productions.  More  and  more  fully  the 
stage  is  recording  our  progress  in  restoring  the  Arcadian 
natural  grace  and  beauty  of  the  dance.  It  invites  us  who 
dance  as  dancing  ought  to  be,  for  our  own  joy  and  bene- 
fit, to  make  a  public  diversion  of  what  is  our  pleasure  and 
our  duty  to  ourselves.  And  this  is  as  it  should  be.  It 
will  contribute  new-old  beauties  to  the  Art  of  the  Dance, 
and  it  will  help  to  convince  the  multitude  that  what  they 
are  witnessing  as  a  stage  performance  is  really  what  they 
themselves  should  be  doing  every  day  of  their  lives! 

Because  there  existed  just  one  country  and  one 
age  in  which  simple  beauty  and  high  serenity  of  mind 
were  exalted  above  all  else,  we  are  popularly  called, 
"Greek  Dancers."  Let  us  try  to  merit  that  designation. 
What  modern  sculptor  would  not  die  content  in  the 
knowledge  that  his  epitaph  would  proclaim,  "Here  lies 
another  Phidias"?  In  our  time  we  are  ages  distant  from 
that  living  spirit.     How  quickly  it  vanished  from  the 


Unfolding,  as  though  giving  or  about  to  receive — an  idea  of  petals  opening 
to  exchange  the  flower's  perfume  for  the  warmth  of  the  sim's  rays. 

The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

world!  Not  even  Michael  Angelo  could  grasp  it.  "His 
vision  is  of  man  burdened  and  disquieted,  oppressed  by 
mysteries  which  he  cannot  penetrate,  writhing  in  con- 
flict with  forces  too  great  for  his  control.  In  the  sculp- 
tures of  the  Greeks,  on  the  other  hand,  man  is  calm  and 
untroubled — and  the  gods,  we  must  remember,  are  but 
man  exalted  and  made  immortal.  Strength,  skill,  wis- 
dom, temperance  and  modesty  are  implied  in  his  attitude 
of  quiet  and  balanced  grace.  For  him  life  as  he  knows  it 
is  good  and  fair.  His  reckoning  squares  itself  on  earth 
and  calls  for  no  celestial  adjustment  hereafter."* 

The  smug,  squeamish,  hypocritical  Victorian  Age 
produced  poets  and  painters  who  sickened  and  died  of 
nostalgia  for  its  antithesis,  the  Age  of  Pericles.  A  war- 
rior— Lord  Elgin — committed  the  crime  of  ravishing  the 
Parthenon  of  its  chief  sculptured  glories  for  respectable 
sepulture  in  the  British  Museum.  Wordsworth,  in  an 
hour  of  true  poetic  vision,  penned  a  sonnet : 

The  world  is  too  much  with  us ;  late  and  soon 

Getting  and  spending,  we  waste  our  powers ; 

Little  we  see  in  Nature  that  is  ours; 
We  have  given  our  hearts  away,  a  sordid  boon! 
The  sea  that  bares  her  bosom  to  the  moon, 

The  winds  that  will  be  howling  at  all  hours. 

And  are  upgathered  now  like  sleeping  flowers. 
For  this,  for  everything,  we  are  out  of  tune ; 
It  moves  us  not. — Great  God,  I'd  rather  be 

A  Pagan  suckled  on  a  creed  outworn. 
So  might  I,  standing  on  this  pleasant  lea. 

Have  glimpses  that  would  make  me  less  forlorn ; 
Have  sight  of  Proteus  rising  from  the  sea. 

Or  hear  old  Triton  blow  his  wreathed  horn. 

♦John  Warrack,  from  his  introduction  to  "Greek  Scxilpture." 


An  adaptation  of  the  classic  idea  of  Pan — three  manifestations  emphasizing 
the  gay  and  mischievous  attributes  of  that  minor  deity  of  the  Arcadijin 

The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

Yes,  the  coveted  spirit  is  Greek.  But  is  that  spirit 
forever  lost  because  modern  hands  fail  to  reproduce  it  in 
marble?  Our  bodies  are  in  no  way  different  from  theirs. 
In  youth  our  minds  are  plastic ;  let  us  encourage  them  to 
so  act  upon  our  emotions  that  there  will  be  true  beauty 
in  our  dancing. 

In  America  our  prospects  are  brighter  than  any- 
where elsewhere  else  in  the  world.  The  great  mass  of 
this  country's  population  is  unspoiled  by  the  traditions 
of  arts  that  have  become  decadent.  Our  "melting  pot" 
is  mingling  the  most  vital  blood  of  every  enlightened 
race  under  the  sun,  thus  obliterating  national  traits  dis- 
covered to  be  disadvantageous  and  creating  a  new  people 
devoid  of  belittling  prejudices,  fresh,  strong  and  original 
in  its  creative  impulses.  What  we  have  already  accom- 
plished in  our  reform  of  dancing  has  directed  to  this 
country  the  hopes  and  expectations  of  the  connoisseurs 
and  critical  authorities  of  Europe.  Especially  with  re- 
spect to  dancing  and  music  among  the  fine  arts  they  seem 
to  rely  upon  us  for  fresh,  regenerative  impulses. 

Of  course,  in  view  of  their  source,  these  expecta- 
tions concern  dancing  as  an  art  for  public  representation. 
That  is  inevitable.  From  this  viewpoint,  Ivan  Narodny, 
in  a  philosophical  chapter  in  his  History  of  the  Dance, 
writes:  "The  future  of  the  art  of  dancing  belongs  to 
America,  the  country  of  cosmic  ideals.  The  past  be- 
longs to  the  aristocratic  ideals,  in  which  the  Russian 
ballet  reached  the  climax.     The  French  were  the  found- 


Different  mdividued  reactions  to  the  same  sense  of  calamity — one  erect  as 
though  petrified,  the  other  crushed  by  despair;  neither  imitative,  but  each 

The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

ers  of  aristocratic  choreography;  the  Russians  trans- 
formed it  into  an  aristocratic  dramatic  art ;  to  the  Ameri- 
cans belongs  the  attempt  at  a  democratic  school."  * 

When  we  realize  that  expressions  of  this  kind  are 
evoked  by  admiration  of  our  achievements  toward  re- 
storing the  ancient  Greek  ideal  of  dancing  we  must  feel 
especially  encouraged;  for,  while  our  great  object  is  to 
add  something  of  permanent  value  to  the  beauty  and  joy 
of  human  life,  to  have  our  accomplishment  accepted  as  a 
worthy  foundation  upon  which  to  build  an  entire  art 
structure  that  shall  be  new  and  original  is  the  best  pos- 
sible assurance  that  we  are  on  a  firm  footing,  and  in 
accord  with  the  spirit  of  our  time  and  our  country. 

We  have  one  most  decided  advantage  over  the 
time  and  country  of  our  model;  we  are  near  the  begin- 
ning of  our  national  existence  and  of  our  creative  im- 
pulse, while  they,  having  reached  the  summit,  were 
trembling  on  the  verge  of  decadence.  Less  than  two 
centuries  later,  as  Grecian  ceramic  art  shows,  the  lofty 
deities  of  their  pantheon  were  being  forgotten  in  favor 
of  the  gods  of  disorder.  Aphrodite,  in  her  most  carnal 
aspect,  and  vine-wreathed  Dionysos  were  dissipating  the 
serene  dignity  and  grace  wrought  by  the  power  of  Pallas 
Athene,    Hermes,    Diana.     Potter's    clay    largely    sup- 

*  Narodny's  argument  on  this  point  proceeds:  "The  chief  character- 
istics of  the  American  mind  are  to  condense  expressions  and  ideas  into  their 
shortest  forms.  This  is  most  evident  in  the  syncopated  style  of  its  music,  in 
its  language  and  in  its  architecture  Like  the  American  ragtime  tune,  an 
American  skyscraper  is  the  result  of  an  impressionistic  imagination.  Both 
are  crude  in  their  present  form,  yet  they  speak  a  language  of  an  unethno- 
graphic  race  and  form  the  foundation  of  a  new  art. 

"Instead  of  having  a  floating,  graceful  and,  so  to  speak,  a  horizontal 


Children  are  quick  to  feel  the  impulse  to  rise  upon  the  ball  of  the  foot  even 
when  that  limb  is  sustaining  the  body's  entire  weight — one  of  the  principal 
requisites  of  Greek  dancing. 

The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

planted  marble  as  material  upon  which  the  record  of 
human  life  was  graven.  The  little  clay  dancing  figures 
of  Tanagra,  in  the  Fourth  Century  B.  C,  are  charming, 
but  they  tell  only  too  plainly  the  story  of  moral  and 
spiritual  degeneration,  which,  at  the  beginning  of  the 
Christian  era,  had  placed  the  Golden  Age  in  total  eclipse. 

In  our  country  to-day  the  tendencies  are  exactly 
the  reverse.  We  are  rapidly  ridding  ourselves  of  our  old- 
world  heritage  of  drunkenness,  profligacy  and  pharisee- 
ism.  With  respect  to  drink  we  are  becoming  temperate 
almost  to  the  point  of  abstention;  over-eating  is  entirely 
out  of  fashion;  many  of  our  wealthiest  families  set  ex- 
amples of  simple  living,  discouraging  arrogant  display, 
idleness  and  class  distinctions.  All  our  tendencies  are 
toward  nobler  ideals.  Psychologically,  we  are  in  a  most 
fortunate  position  to  begin — with  our  dancing,  at  least — 
where  the  Arcadians  left  off. 

It  would  be  absurd  for  us  to  believe  that  we  are 
capable  of  no  more  than  copying  the  Arcadians.  As  a 
matter  of  fact  we  are  temperamentally  incapable  of  slav- 
ishly copying  from  any  model.  Our  ancient  Greek 
dancing  is,  and  will  continue  to  be,  Greek  plus  American 

tendency  like  the  aesthetic  images  of  the  Old  World,  American  beauty  is 
djmamic,  impressionistic  and  denies  every  tradition.  The  imderljong 
motives  of  such  a  tendency  are  not  democratic  but  cosmic.  While  a  nation- 
alistic art  is  always  based  upon  something  traditional,  something  that 
belongs  to  the  past  evolution  of  a  race,  cosmic  art  strives  to  imite  the 
emotions  of  all  humanity.  The  task  of  the  latter  is  much  more  difficult. 
It  requires  a  universal  mind  to  grasp  what  appeals  to  the  whole  world.  It 
requires  a  Titanic  genius  to  condense  the  aesthetic  images  so  that  in  their 
shortest  form  they  may  say  what  the  others  would  in  a  roundabout  way. 
This  gives  to  beauty  a  dynamic  vigor  and  makes  it  so  much  more  universal 
than  the  art  of  any  age  or  nation  could  be." 


The  Classic  Ideal — and  Ours 

adaptability  and  creativeness;  human  nature  has  not 
stood  quite  still  for  twenty-five  centuries.  Eventually, 
upon  our  serenely  pure  and  beautiful  model  we  shall  be 
able  to  build  forms  and  movements  that  will  make  our 
dance  really  our  own,  and  our  lives  the  fuller  and  happier 
because  of  it. 

What  gives  greater  satisfaction  than  the  certainty 
of  being  able  always  to  give  true  expression  to  charming 
thoughts  and  swaying  emotions?  The  speaking  eye,  the 
mirror-like,  plastic  countenance  and  the  gracefully  respon- 
sive body  and  limbs,  form  an  instrument  of  interpretation 
capable  of  imaging  forth  the  subtlest  shade  of  meaning. 

When  numbers  of  us  together  are  practising  our 
variations  upon  the  classic  dance  methods  of  interpreting 
musical  themes,  the  spectator  is  apt  to  marvel  at  the 
diversity  of  individual  expression.  There  are  no  hack- 
neyed movements ;  in  each  individual  case  the  response  of 
the  living  interpretative  instrument  is  original  and  spon- 
taneous. And  the  familiar  spectator's  wonder  turns  to 
amazement  on  observing  that  however  individual  is  each 
separate  interpretation,  all,  nevertheless,  are  fused  spon- 
taneously into  one  mass  interpretation  that  is  far  more 
aesthetic  and  truthful  than  is  possible  by  means  of  arti- 
ficial, prearranged  figures,  as  in  the  conventional  ballet. 





Graceful  swaying  of  the  erect  body  produced  in  advancing  by  a  slight  cross- 
ing of  the  feet,  with  uplifted  arms  in  harmonious  management  of  draperies. 


The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

^•^♦OR  more  than  twenty  centuries  dancing  has  suf- 
^|1  fered  martyrdon  to  clothes.  Clothes,  as  distin- 
guished from  robes,  draperies  sufficient  for  mod- 
esty and  comfort,  are  an  arbitrary,  artificial  creation 
expressing  only  vanity  and  defying  nearly  every  attribute 
of  nature  and  beauty.  Worse  yet,  when  we  reflect  we 
realize  that  Fashion,  the  modern  Goddess,  has  undone 
all  that  was  accomplished  by  the  Olympian  Goddess  of 
Health — compressing  and  distorting  the  body  and  inter- 
fering disastrously  with  the  important  functions  of  the 
skin.  Nature,  in  clothing  the  lower  animals  never  has 
done  this ;  even  her  work  of  ornamentation  has  ever  been 
harmless  from  the  health  standpoint;  nor  can  it  be 
charged  to  vanity,  for  we  know  that  the  gorgeous  tail  of 
the  peacock  and  the  majestic  mane  of  the  lion  serve  the 
single  purpose  of  attracting  the  female. 

History  shows  us  quite  plainly  that  the  ideal  of 
human  vigor  and  grace  reached  its  zenith  in  Greece  in  the 
Fifth  Century  B.  C.     The  sculptured  remains  of  that  pe- 


Example  of  a  very  young  dancer  unconsciously  coordinating  movements  of 
arms  and  torso  with  remarkably  true  and  forceful  expression  of  countenance. 

The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

riod  prove  to  us  that  clothes  had  not  yet  been  invented. 
That  is  one  of  several  reasons  why  Greek  sculpture  of  the 
Fifth  Century  remains  unsurpassed.  We  have  only  to 
compare  any  figure  of  a  Parthenon  frieze  with  the  best 
sculptured  representation  of  human  activity  in  our  own 
time  to  be  instantly  aware  of  the  woful  decadence  not 
only  of  vigor  and  grace,  but  of  beauty ;  and  to  be  able  to 
fix  the  whole  responsibility  upon  clothes.  All  competent 
sculptors,  painters  and  critics  agree  upon  this:  "Nothing 
is  more  characteristic  of  the  Greeks,  nothing  better  illus- 
trates their  quickness  to  seize  on  the  profound  beauty 
which  may  transfigure  common  and  familiar  things,  than 
their  use  of  drapery.  In  drapery  the  sculptor  saw  not 
merely  the  appropriate  clothing  of  the  model,  to  be  dis- 
posed as  gracefully  and  tellingly  as  possible,  but  a  ma- 
terial out  of  which  he  might  weave  a  web  of  magical 
beauty,  responsive  to  the  activity  of  repose  of  the  figure, 
and  forming  an  emotional  commentary  on  its  attitude 
or  movement.  It  was  a  filmy  envelope  enabling  him  to 
reveal  the  form  in  its  structural  meaning  and  beauty  of 
line,  and,  again,  to  lose  it  in  simple  spaces  or  behind  vig- 
orous folds  of  the  gathered  material.  Thus  it  supplied 
his  art  with  an  element  of  mystery,  and  gave  him  a  new 
power  of  leading  the  eye  of  the  spectator  along  an  en- 
chanting course  of  expectation  and  surprise."  * 

Those  were  the  draperies  ordinarily  worn  by  the 
Greeks,  and  in  which  they  danced.     We,  in  our  restora- 

*  Quoted  from  John  Warrack's  introduction  to  "Greek  Sculpture." 


The  perfection  of  self-consciousness  wholly  obliterated.  Although  suddenly 
and  completely  undraped,  the  child's  reaction  to  the  emotion  of  expectant 
wonder  is  absolute. 

The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

tion  of  the  Greek  dance,  model  all  our  draperies  upon 
them.  Athenaeus,  most  faithful  chronicler  of  Greek  so- 
cial life,  tells  us  that  the  early  sculpture  is  "a  record  of 
dancing."  We  are,  therefore,  not  only  restoring  Greek 
dancing  but  translating  the  noblest  sculpture  into  move- 
ment— bringing  its  most  beautiful  and  charming  figures 
to  life. 

The  decadence  of  sculpture  and  of  dancing  have 
been  coincident — and  clothes  are  responsible.  Rome 
was  the  original  inventor  of  clothes.  Rome  fell,  but 
Fashion  went  on  her  way  increasingly  triumphant,  thriv- 
ing even  in  the  Dark  Ages  when  humanity  touched  the 
bottom  of  spiritual  and  moral  degradation.  Fashion, 
clothes,  seized  upon  the  Renaissance,  imposing  her  glit- 
tering artifices  and  thus  obstructing  the  way  to  a  restora- 
tion of  true  beauty  and  vigor.  The  Eighteenth  Century 
witnessed  the  apotheosis  of  Fashion — which  the  French 
Revolution  obscured  but  failed  to  transform  into  a  Cal- 
vary. The  train  of  the  wedding  dress  of  Frederick  the 
Great's  daughter  "was  borne  by  six  maids  of  honor,  who, 
on  account  of  the  great  weight  of  the  precious  stones 
with  which  it  was  garnished,  had  two  pages  to  assist 
them.  The  total  weight  of  the  bridal  attire  is  said  to 
have  been  nearly  a  hundred  pounds."  * 

Fashion's  hold  upon  the  men  was  not  less  firm. 
Madame  de  Sevigne  tells  of  the  wedding  toilet  of  the 
Prince  de  Conde :     "The  whole  court  was  witness  of  the 

*  Grace  Rhys,  in  Modes  and  Manners  of  the  Nineteenth  Century. 


A  playful  Spring  movement — flowers  and  ribbons,  and  lightness  of  move- 
ment which  seems  ahnost  to  defy  the  force  of  gravitation.  The  small 
Tanagra  figures  suggest  the  same  spirit. 

The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

ceremony,  and  Madame  de  Langeron,  seizing  the  mo- 
ment when  he  had  his  paws  crossed  like  a  lion,  slipped 
upon  him  a  waistcoat  with  diamond  buttons.  A  valet 
de  chambre  frizzed  him,  powdered  him.  His  suit  was  in- 
estimably lovely;  it  was  embroidered  in  very  large  dia- 
monds, following  the  lines  of  a  black  pattern  on  a  straw- 
colored  velvet  ground."     Etc.,  etc. 

Both  sexes  were  corseted  to  the  point  of  suffoca- 
tion. Dancing?  Clothes  pretended  to  dance — their 
wearers  couldn't;  in  the  American  slang  of  to-day,  they 
were  dead  from  the  hips  up — yes,  and  ought  to  have 
been  buried  all  over! 

We  are  now  not  much  better  off.  Fashion  still  has 
us  in  her  grip.  That  grip  is  somewhat  relaxed,  however, 
and  it  is  to  be  hoped  that  our  restoration  of  dancing  as  it 
is  embalmed  in  Greek  sculpture  will  apply  the  coup  de 
grace,  with  adequate  and  beautiful  draperies  forever  sup- 
planting clothes. 

In  this  connection  one  thing  is  always  to  be  re- 
membered :  The  scantiest  of  draperies  are  more  modest 
than  any  clothes.  Clothes  are  suggestive,  and  impure 
thoughts  provoke  impure  manners.  All  our  dancing 
modeled  upon  the  Greek  effects  an  illusion  of  absolute 
beauty  so  profound  that  bareness  of  feet  and  limbs  occa- 
sionally escaping  their  drapings  makes  no  separate  appeal 
of  any  kind.  As  for  clothes,  it  will  be  sufficient  to  quote 
Herrick,  amorous  poet  of  clothes'  most  triumphant  pe- 


The  graceful  management  of  draperies  is  an  important  requisite  in  Greek 
dancing.  When  the  robe  is  voluminous,  as  in  this  instance,  its  manipulation 
demands  considerable  skill. 

The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

A  sweet  disorder  in  the  dress 
Kindles  in  clothes  a  wantonness. 
A  winning  wave,  deserving  note, 
In  the  tempestuous  petticoat; 
A  careless  shoestring,  in  whose  tie 
I  see  a  wild  civility, — 
Do  more  bewitch  me  than  when  art 
Is  too  precise  in  every  part. 

We  have,  fortunately,  from  other  sources  unques- 
tioned authority  to  support  our  contention  from  the 
dancer's  viewpoint  that  the  tyranny  of  clothes,  of  fash- 
ion, amounts  to  a  denial  of  our  vaunted  Twentieth  Cen- 
tury civilization.  From  nearly  every  other  form  of 
tyranny  we  have  escaped.  Never  before  was  the  average 
human  being  throughout  the  world  so  nearly  free  from 
autocratic  control,  or  so  able  to  make  intelligent  per- 
sonal use  of  the  fruits  of  progress  in  science.  Yet,  curi- 
ously enough,  while  the  whole  world  is  making  a  fetish 
of  hygiene,  hygiene's  arch  enemy — the  tyrant  of  conven- 
tional clothing — continues  to  sit  securely  upon  his 

Every  properly  trained  athlete  understands  the  in- 
consistency of  our  use  of  conventional  clothes.  All  ca- 
pable physical  instructors  are  missionaries  for  radical 
clothing  reform.  One  of  the  most  celebrated  of  these — 
Lieutenant  Mueller,  of  the  Danish  Army — vies  with  the 
most  uncompromising  Greek  dancer  in  reprobation  of 
"the  garb  of  civilization."  In  his  "Fresh  Air  Book"  he 
writes : 

"What  beautiful  skins  the  ancient  Greeks  pos- 
sessed, acquired  by  constant  practice,  body  exercises, 


A  playful  dance  interpretation  in  which  the  hands  and  the  expression  of 
countenance  are  especially  impiortant.  The  small  Tanagra  figure  portrays 
much  the  same  spirit  in  different  action. 

The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

which  they  performed  without  clothes  in  the  open  air, 
under  a  blazing  sun!  Their  skins  were  of  a  golden- 
brown  color,  like  bronze,  and  were  as  soft  as  velvet,  but  at 
the  same  time  quite  inured  to  all  climatic  conditions. 
That  the  skin  is  so  inured  does  not  mean  that  it  is  hard, 
but  rather  that  it  possesses  the  faculty  of  transmitting 
the  warmth  and  coolness,  dryness  and  moisture,  and  the 
different  chemical  and  electric  influences,  so  that  these, 
instead  of  harming  or  weakening  the  body,  invigorate 
and  preserve  its  vitality.  While  the  skin  of  the  palms 
of  the  hands  and  the  soles  of  the  feet  becomes  hard  and 
corny  through  constant  use,  the  skin  of  the  rest  of  the 
body  has  this  entirely  opposite  peculiarity,  that  the  more 
it  is  rubbed  and  exposed  to  the  sun  and  the  wind  the 
softer  it  becomes.  We  who  live  in  northern  cities  can 
make  our  skins  as  healthy  and  fine  as  those  of  the  old 
Greeks,  if  we  only  do,  as  they  did."  * 

We  are  entitled  to  remark  here  that  we  who  dance 
as  dancing  ought  to  be,  in  this  sense  at  least,  actually  do 
as  the  old  Greeks  did.     Our  heads  and  feet  are  bare ;  our 

*  In  the  same  book  Lieutenant  Mueller  presents  these  pertinent  phys- 
ological  facts:  "Being  naked,  with  a  goodly  current  of  cold  or  dry  air  play- 
ing on  the  body,  the  exudation  from  the  pores  does  not  always  take  the  form 
of  sweat,  but  sometimes  that  of  gas.  This  kind  of  steam  can  be  easily 
observed  by  standing  in  the  bright  sunshine  on  a  cold  day,  and  watching 
the  outline  of  one's  own  figure,  when  little  waves  of  shadow,  like  the 
dancing  hot  air  above  a  flame,  will  be  seen  to  rise  upward  quickly  and  con- 
tinually. The  skin  is  seen  exhaling  carbolic  acid,  steam,  and  a  number  of 
other  poisonous  matters,  while  it  absorbs  in  the  meantime  the  oxygen  of 
the  air.  Everybody  will  understand  that  any  check  to  this  respiration  of 
the  skin,  by  diet  or  by  thick  apparel,  prevents  the  free  exchange  of  poison- 
ous for  pure  gases,  and,  therefore,  is  injurious  to  health.  It  also  proves  that 
a  skin  that  can  breathe  freely  through  its  pores,  and  is  accustomed  to  air- 
baths,  and  other  kinds  of  gymnastics  for  the  skin,  has  special  faculties  for 
cleansing  and  improving  tlie  blood,  and  healthy  blood  lays  the  foundation 
of  a  vigorous  and  fatigue-resisting  organism." 


Here  the  dancer,  erect  and  recumbent,  realizes  in  living  movement  the  classic 
sculptor's  sense  of  the  aesthetic  value  of  simple  draperies. 


The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

bodies  and  limbs  are  draped  only  for  modesty  and  grace; 
our  skins  are  soft,  healthy  and  fine.  If  we  fall  short  of 
their  state  of  physical  perfection,  doubtless  the  cause 
lies  in  the  number  of  hours  out  of  the  twenty-four  during 
which  the  social  conventions  of  ordinary  life  compel  us 
to  confine  and  burden  our  bodies  with  unnecessary  and 
unhygienic  clothing. 

Fashion,  in  modern  times,  is  responsible  for  the 
worst  possible  crime  against  health  and  grace  in  its 
tyrannical  treatment  of  our  feet.  The  natural  human  foot 
not  only  is  beautifully  formed  but  is  a  marvel  of  strength 
and  elasticity.  It  easily  bears  up  the  whole  weight  of 
the  body,  while,  in  the  exercise  of  walking  and  running, 
the  feet  perform  more  work  than  any  other  member. 
Their  structure  is  necessarily  complex — a  finely  organ- 
ized, shapely,  mass  of  jointed  bones,  powerful  muscles, 
ligaments,  tendons,  and  sensitive  nerves,  with  a  circula- 
tory system  which  depends  for  its  efficiency  upon  free- 
dom of  movement  of  every  part.  Given  this  advantage, 
the  ordinary  exercise  of  the  feet  in  bearing  up  the  whole 
body  and  carrying  it  about  from  place  to  place  maintains 
them  in  a  state  of  symmetry  and  health.  Dancing  nat- 
urally in  the  bare  feet,  as  we  do,  contributes  such  extra 
vitality  that  the  entire  body  benefits. 

Whatever  confines  and  burdens  our  bodies,  pre- 
venting the  natural  movements  of  our  limbs  and  inclining 
us  from  that  proudly  upright  position  which  distin- 
guishes us  most  obviously  from  the  lower  animals,  tends 


The  Tyranny  of  Clothes 

to  limit  the  attribute  of  spirituality  which  we  share  with 
divinity.  In  our  conventional  harness  of  clothes  we  are 
not  much  better  off  than  the  poet's  "man  with  a  hoe," 
aptly  described  as,  "brother  to  the  ox."  When  in  that 
harness  one's  gaze  droops  from  the  sky  to  the  earth;  he 
cannot  escape  his  sense  of  being  earth-born;  spiritual 
ideals  fade  away,  crowded  out  by  gross  materiality. 

Unburdened  by  any  such  harness,  the  Greek 
dancer  seems  to  deny  for  herself  more  than  a  casual  and 
convenient  connection  with  the  earth.  Her  bare  feet  do 
not  sink  into  it  under  the  weight  of  her  body.  Indeed, 
her  body  appears  to  have  no  weight.  Her  feet  lightly 
spurn  the  earth  and  her  body  soars.  She  is  more  of  the 
air  than  of  the  earth — not  only  in  appearance  to  the  ordi- 
nary observer  but  in  her  own  sense  of  delightful  buoy- 
ancy. She  is  realizing  in  her  conscious  hours  that  famil- 
iar dream  sensation  of  freedom  from  the  earth's  attrac- 
tion in  which  the  body  seems  to  float  through  the  atmos- 
phere propelled  by  an  occasional  slight  thrust  of  the  foot 
against  the  ground.  The  almost  universal  experience  of 
this  soaring  dream  sensation  seems  to  bear  out  the  theory 
that  dreams,  in  their  fantastic  way,  fulfil,  and  are  actu- 
ated by,  desires  of  the  conscious  being;  for,  what  human 
desire  is  more  nearly  universal  than  the  desire  for  com- 
plete personal  independence,  of  which  independence  of 
the  earth's  support  would  represent  its  most  perfect  real- 




Caryatid  of  the  Erechtheum  (British  Museum).  The  sculptured  classic 
Greek  ideal  of  serene  poise  and  balance  of  the  whole  figure.  Note  that 
nearly  the  entire  weight  of  the  body  Jind  its  burden  is  borne  on  one  foot. 


Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

^'5^'ARLY  Greek  sculpture,  wrote  Athenaeus,  is  a 
T  ^  record  of  dancing.  Even  at  this  distance  of  twen- 
ty-five centuries,  with  only  remnants  of  the  record 
preserved  to  us,  we  discern  truth  in  the  statement  and 
can  understand  the  cause  that  went  before  the  fact.  The 
Greeks  adored  the  human  form,  and  most  of  all  in  grace- 
ful and  vigorous  action.  Their  dancing,  more  than  any 
other  motive  for  physical  expression,  combined  these 
qualities.  It  did  more  than  that.  Lucian  writes:  "In 
this  art  the  functions  of  mind  and  body  are  united.  It 
exercises  the  limbs  and  at  the  same  time  employs  the 
understanding ;  for  in  it  nothing  is  done  without  wisdom 
and  reason."  Referring  to  emotional  interpretations  in 
the  Greek  dance,  Xenophon  says :  "Nothing  of  the  body 
should  be  idle;  the  neck,  limbs  and  hands  must  all  be 
made  use  of."  When  Demetrius  witnessed  a  dancer, 
without  any  musical  accompaniment,  represent  one  of 
the  old  myths  of  the  gods  he  cried  out :  "I  not  only  see 
all  you  do,  but  even  hear  it  also ;  for  your  hands  seem  to 
speak  to  me !" 


Classic  perfection  of  repose,  with  one  limb  bearing  the  body's  weight  while 
the  other,  with  the  knee  flexed,  preserves  balance,  is  one  of  the  Greek 
dancer's  earliest  achievements. 

Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

Dimly,  perhaps,  but  still  plainly  enough  to  con- 
vince us  of  their  truth,  all  these  testimonies  are  corrob- 
orated in  what  is  preserved  to  us  of  the  sculpture  of  that 
period.  We  who  are  earnest  in  our  efforts  to  replace 
dancing  upon  its  ancient  foundation  of  truth  and  beauty 
should  therefore  give  constant  study  to  the  sculptures 
which  so  faithfully  portray  it.  A  modern  close  student 
of  the  subject — John  Warrack — has  well  written:  "It 
would  be  difficult  to  overestimate  the  value  of  dancing 
of  so  highly  intellectualized  a  type  in  educating  a  nation 
in  the  elements  of  sculpture.  The  dancer  had  to  repro- 
duce, with  little  if  any  external  aid,  the  whole  range  of 
human  thought  and  feeling  in  terms  of  bodily  gesture 
and  movement,  and  his  art  was  closely  followed  and  criti- 
cized by  a  crowd  of  keenly  discriminating  spectators,  who 
condemned  any  departure  from  the  severest  artistic 
seemliness  and  restraint.  His  physical  conformation, 
his  fairness  of  proportion  and  his  condition  had  to  come 
up  to  the  most  exacting  standards.  The  art  of  rythmic 
balance  and  that  perfect  co-operation  of  the  muscles 
which  results  in  graceful  and  harmonious  movements 
had  to  be  studied  and  acquired  under  masters  versed  in 
the  Greek  tradition.  And  all  this  beauty  of  form  and 
movement  was  to  be,  not  an  end  in  itself,  but  a  medium 
through  which  an  intellectual  and  poetic  appreciation  of 
Greek  legend  was  to  find  expression." 

Nothing  tangible  which  now  exists  upon  the  face 
of  the  earth  except  the  sculpture  of  the  age  of  Myron, 


A  most  charming  unstudied  attitude  enhanced  by  the  simple  drapery  effect. 
The  figure  is  an  early  Roman  copy  of  a  classic  Greek  original,  from  the 
Giustiniani  Collection. 


Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

Phidias  and  Polyclitus  can  interpret  for  us  the  passion- 
ate and  exalted  sense  of  the  beauty  of  form  which  was 
the  heart  of  the  life  of  the  ancient  Greeks.  It  is  a  beauty 
realized  by  no  other  people,  before  or  since.  It  "has  an 
immortal  virtue,  a  flame-like  efficacy  for  the  spirit,  which 
cold  erudition  cannot  supply";  and  if  that  flame  be  but 
once  kindled  it  is  inevitable  that  we  should  be  led  straight 
back  to  those  who  knew  what  they  sought.  They  sought 
and  found  tranquillity,  without  which  there  is  no  beauty ; 
and,  learning  to  feel  it,  they  were  able  to  reproduce  it  in 
marble — an  inheritance  for  us,  who  feel  tranquillity  so 
slightly  and  so  sorely  need  its  inspiration !  So  we  know 
that  man  once,  in  one  country  and  one  period,  was  con- 
fident, undismayed,  always  equal  to  his  task.  "Even  in 
the  scenes  of  combat  so  frequent  on  pediment  or  frieze, 
he  gives  or  receives  the  death-wound  with  the  same  gal- 
lant grace,  neither  arrogant  in  victory  nor  dishonest  by 

Although  these  priceless  sculptures  are  not  acces- 
sible to  the  average  student,  photographs  of  them  are 
widely  distributed.  These  indicate  at  once  "how  tran- 
quil and  unoppressed  by  their  burden  are  the  Caryatids 
of  the  Erechtheum,  those  serene  maidens  who  bear  on 
their  heads  the  solid  marble  entablature!"  Warrack  is 
writing  here,  and  what  he  writes  is  food  for  thought  for 
every  dancer:  "The  perfection  of  repose  which  char- 
acterizes most  of  the  free  single-figure  statues  which 
have  come  down  to  us  is  even  more  striking.     We  may 


Bearing  the  bowl  of  wine — attitude,  countenance,  position  of  the  other  hand 
and  arm,  all  express  the  spirit  that  goes  with  the  conception  of  the  vintage. 

Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

almost  reduce  its  secret  to  a  formula.  Unlike  modern 
work,  where,  especially  among  northern  races,  the  weight 
is  apt  to  be  borne  by  both  feet,  thus  suggesting  a  dis- 
turbance of  balance,  if  not  actual  motion,  the  Greek  fig- 
ure is  supported  by  one  only,  while  the  other  limb  is  re- 
laxed, and  the  foot  merely  rests  on  the  ground  to  secure 
stability.*  One  hip  thus  drops  lower  than  the  other,  and 
this  is  balanced  by  an  opposite  inclination  of  the  line  of 
the  two  shoulders.  If  the  right  hip  is  up,  the  right 
shoulder  is  down;  if  the  left  hip  rises,  the  left  shoulder 
falls.  As  a  natural  sequel,  the  line  of  the  knees  follows 
that  of  the  hips,  while  the  ankles  tend  to  revert  to  the 
line  of  the  shoulders." 

Without  due  recognition  of  these  principles  no 
dancer  can  express  tranquillity  in  beauty.  Having  mas- 
tered them,  she,  or  he,  will  naturally  co-ordinate  the  re- 
lations of  the  lines  of  the  shoulders,  the  hips,  the  knees, 
and  the  ankles  respectively  as  to  their  backward  or  for- 
ward inclination  in  a  horizontal  plane.  Analyses  of  this 
sort  will  lead  the  dancer  far  towards  the  appreciation  of 
the  subtilities  of  Greek  balance,  acquired  in  practice  of 
the  dance  and  recorded  in  sculpture. 

Among  the  sculptures,  of  which  replicas  and  pho- 
tographs are  accessible  to  everybody  and  which  are  use- 

*  It  will  be  observed  that  throughout  the  text  of  these  essays  dealing 
with  the  fundamentals  of  the  art  which  she  teaches  as  well  as  practices, 
the  author  exercises  a  restraint  quite  out  of  the  ordinary.  Here,  for  ex- 
ample, she  chooses  to  quote  an  art  critic  on  a  principle  of  technique  which 
is  demonstrated  in  the  work  of  her  youngest  pupils  trained  in  the  New 
York  City  Temple  of  her  school,  or  in  its  sylvan  summer  annex,  "Wood 
Nymphs."  It  may  interest  the  reader,  by  way  of  illustration,  to  compare 
the  Caryatid  reproduced  for  the  frontispiece  of  this  section  with  the  figure 
of  the  young  pupil  in  the  plate  next  following. — Ed. 


The  undraped  torso  of  every  dancer  who  is  faithful  to  the  classic  model 
exhibits  this  hygienic  raising  of  the  chest  which  reduces  the  abdomen  by 
sustaining  the  internal  org2tns  in  their  proper  position. 

Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

ful  for  the  constant  study  of  dancers,  are:  Venus  of 
Melos  (Louvre) ;  Antinous  (Vatican,  Rome) ;  Dance  of 
Nymphs  in  a  Grotto  of  Pan  (British  Museum,  from  Ath- 
ens) ;  Marble  Relief  of  a  Dancer  (Kgl.  Museum,  Berlin)  ; 
Orpheus,  Eurydice,  and  Hermes  (Naples) ;  Phigaleian 
Frieze  or  Greeks  and  Amazons  (British  Museum) ;  Vic- 
tory Binding  Sandal  (Acropolis  Museum,  Athens). 

At  this  point  it  seems  desirable  to  define  a  bound- 
ary beyond  which  our  study  of  classic  Greek  sculpture 
ceases  to  be  useful  in  aiding  us  to  restore  the  spirit  of 
dancing  of  that  period.  As  we  do  not  rely  for  our 
achievement  upon  any  system  of  mechanical  technique, 
the  real  value  of  the  influence  exerted  by  these  sculptures 
ends  where  it  has  succeeded  in  transporting  us,  in  our 
minds  and  emotions,  back  to  Arcady.  When  we  can 
mentally  visualize  Greece  in  her  Golden  Age,  and  have 
entered  into  the  spirit  which  made  the  Arcadians  what 
they  were,  then  we  can  go  on  and  freely  express  our- 
selves as  they  did ;  and,  upon  that  foundation,  proceed  to 
adapt  and  originate  in  accordance  with  our  native  gifts 
and  the  added  inpulses  belonging  to  our  own  age. 

Our  first  object  is  to  recreate  and  reinhabit  Arcady, 
because  we  need  a  definite  ideal  that  satisfies  our  aesthet- 
ic sense.  Where  has  there  existed  another  such  ideal? 
Nowhere  in  the  Orient  in  any  period,  for  the  reason  that 
the  Oriental  mind  and  ours  are  at  opposite  poles.  Our 
sagas  of  the  West  do  not  reveal  anything  of  the  kind,  for 
in  their  heroes  and  heroines  the  essential  quality  of 


Votive  incense,  as  from  a  novice  to  the  Priestess  of  the  Temple — an  attitude 
of  graceful  humility  combined  with  pride  in  serving. 

Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

serenity  was  wholly  absent.  Our  fairy  lore  deals  with 
the  supernatural,  the  fantastic,  and  therefore  helps  us 
not  at  all.  Only  Arcady  and  the  Arcadians  supply  what 
we  lack,  and  their  sculpture  marks  the  only  sure  road 
leading  back  to  them. 

It  is  well  known  that  others  have  been  before  us 
in  this  conclusion.  It  is  equally  apparent  that  something 
is  lacking  in  what  they  have  built  upon  that  substructure. 
Upon  analysis  it  appears  that  they  have  seized  upon  the 
essential  elements,  but  that  instead  of  assimilating  and 
adapting  them  in  a  way  consistent  with  practical  as  well 
as  aesthetic  usefulness  in  our  modern  world,  they  adhere 
rigidly  to  the  unanimated  fixed  forms  of  a  dead  civiliza- 

For  example,  one  very  conscientious  student  of 
classic  Greek  sculpture  and  its  literature  confesses  her 
inability  to  do  satisfactory  work  amid  the  material  dis- 
tractions of  the  bustling  New  World;  but  place  her  feet 
on  the  modern  soil  (for  soil  remains  no  more  old  than 
does  the  air)  of  ancient  Greece  and  her  inspiration  soars. 
To  be  able  daily  to  contemplate  the  ruins  of  the  Parthe- 
non is  to  find  that  inspiration  daily  renewed.  She  feels 
herself  to  be,  in  fact,  one  of  those  favored  dancers  who 
was  patronized  by  Aspasia,  whose  movements  were  imi- 
tated by  the  thoughtful  Socrates  for  the  good  of  his 
health,  and  who,  perhaps,  danced  as  a  model  for  the  great 
Phidias.  She  is  not  of  this  age  at  all.  She  belongs  to 
the  past,  in  which  she  dwells  as  a  shadow  and  whose 


A  sudden  rcEilization  of  calamity  does  not  always,  as  in  the  case  of  grief, 
have  a  crushing  effect  upon  the  body — as  this  living  semblance  to  sculpture 
indicates  in  its  upward  and  backward  thrust  of  torso,  arms  and  head. 

Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

spirit  she  has  not  the  power  to  restore  as  a  living  thing 
for  the  benefit  of  the  multitudes  who  are  able  to  dwell 
only  in  the  present. 

Another  fixes  her  attention  upon  a  sculptured  joint 
or  swelling  muscle  and  extracts  therefrom  a  new  Prin- 
ciple in  which  is  centered  the  secret  of  the  True  Art  of 
Dancing  as  revealed  by  herself!  "The  secret  consists  in 
a  condition  of  the  muscles  totally  different  from  any  real- 
ized by  athletes  since  the  time  of  the  Greeks,  a  condition 
of  Tension,  which  transforms  dead  weight  into  a  living 
force,  and  which  made  the  Greek  as  different  from  the 
modern  human  being  as  a  stretched  rubber  band  differs 
from  a  slack  one.  Ah,  "tension,"  that  long  lost  secret, 
which  our  modern  athletes  know  nothing  about!  Yet 
you  can't  pick  up  a  pin  from  the  floor  without  muscular 
tension.  Did  you  ever  observe  on  the  "gridiron"  a  Yale 
"Centre  Rush"  "set"  himself  to  withstand  the  enemy's 
catapulting  onslaught?  That  is  muscular  tension  pure 
and  simple.  And  two  modern  sciences — Anthropology 
and  Archaeology — have  long  since  disproved  the  senti- 
mental theory  that,  except  in  manners  and  customs,  the 
man  of  twenty-five,  or  even  fifty,  centuries  ago  differed 
from  the  man  of  to-day.  The  advantage,  if  any,  is  in 
favor  of  the  Twentieth  Century  man.  It  should  be  suf- 
ficient to  remind  the  reader  that  the  distance  covered  by 
the  classic  Marathon  runner — who,  on  delivering  his  mes- 
sage, dropped  dead  from  exhaustion — is  recorded,  and 
that  quite  a  number  of  our  own  modern  "Marathon  rac- 


Our  Debt  to  Classic  Sculpture 

ers"  have  exceeded  it  without  suffering  any  ill  conse- 

It  is  characteristic  for  novices  in  art  to  be  over- 
enthusiastic  and  to  misconstrue  the  meagre  records  of 
times  long  past.  Not  long  ago  one  ingenuous  dancer 
secured  wide  publicity  of  her  "discovery"  that  the  secret 
of  graceful  and  intelligent  physical  expression  had  been 
revealed  to  her  in  familiar  bas  relief  effigies  on  ancient 
Egyptian  coins  and  mummy  cases — those  grotesque  pro- 
files of  hatchet  faces  and  bodies  all  angles  and  sharp  el- 
bows. All  one  had  to  do  in  order  to  become  the  re- 
generator of  dancing  was  faithfully  to  copy  the  lines  and 
angles  of  those  Egyptian  effigies — which  exhibited  the 
old  Egyptians  as  they  really  were,  going  about  their 
business  affairs  and  ceremonies !  It  is  sufficient  to  men- 
tion the  established  historical  fact  that  it  was  forbidden 
by  the  all-powerful  priests  under  those  dynasties  to  por- 
tray the  human  face  or  figure ;  all  their  painters  and  sculp- 
tors were  permitted  to  do  was  to  indicate  them  in  profile 
with  the  stiff  conventionality  with  which  archaeology 
has  made  us  familiar. 

It  is  for  us  to  avoid  misconceptions  of  that  kind. 
Doubtless  they  are  made  and  promulgated  in  good  faith, 
but  ignorance  is  hardly  the  proper  preparation  for  any- 
one who  assumes  the  functions  of  a  teacher.  There  is 
nothing  mysterious  or  enigmatic  about  classic  Greek 
sculpture.  It  speaks  for  itself,  and  its  last  word,  after 
ideal  beauty,  is  Truth. 





A  child  dancer's  spontaneous  interpretation  of  music  whose  Spring-like 
character  produces  the  reaction  indicated — of  being  gently  and  lightly  wafted 
along  upon  a  breeze. 


Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 


'ITH  respect  to  our  restoration  and  modern  de- 
velopment of  the  classic  Greek  dance,  the  case 
of  music  is  very  different  from  that  of  sculpture. 
It  is  different  from  any  other  viewpoint.  The  complete 
and  symmetrical  structure  of  the  science  and  art  of  music 
which  we  in  these  times  possess  is  a  modern  creation, 
compared  with  which  the  music  of  even  the  most  en- 
lightened peoples  in  the  Fifth  Century  B.  C.  was  like  a 
charming  little  embowered  Temple  of  Artemis  placed 
beside  the  Cathedral  of  St.  Marks  in  Venice.  Yet  the 
music  of  the  ancient  Greeks,  ingenuous  and  undeveloped 
though  it  was,  held  fundamental  truth  and  beauty  that 
made  of  it  the  worthy  twin  sister  of  their  dance.  The 
development  of  poetry  and  oratory  was  on  a  par  with  that 
of  sculpture,  and  from  music  those  arts  borrowed  their 
perfect  and  varied  rhythms,  their  effective  cadences  and 
their  exalted  mental  images.  Much  of  their  poetry  is 
preserved  to  us,  and  from  it  we  learn  how  exquisite  was 
their  sense  of  rhythm.     Their  dancing  and  their  acting — 


Depicting  the  idea  of  the  arrow's  flight — in  the  dance  a  quick  movement  of 
the  foot  indicates  the  release  of  the  bowstring;  sharp,  quick,  decisive  action. 

Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

their  lyrical  and  dramatic  representations — were  com- 
bined in  a  single  art,  both  designated  by  one  Greek  word. 
The  dancer,  without  the  aid  of  words,  was  expected  to 
utilize  all  his  powers  of  physical  expression,  all  his  mime- 
tic ability,  in  portrayals  from  the  epics  and  legends  of 
his  time ;  and  often  without  the  support  of  music  in  any 

Music  did  not  then,  nor  does  it  even  now,  possess 
any  value  as  a  medium  for  the  expression  of  concrete 
ideas  or  images  associated  with  nature  or  with  the  activi- 
ties of  human  life.  The  naive  notion  is  long  since  ex- 
ploded that  music  is  capable  of  definitely  depicting  the 
beauties  of  a  summer  sunrise  or  the  horrors  of  a  battle- 
field. That  old  fallacy  was  due  to  a  misconception  of 
the  nature  of  the  mental  stimulus  provided  by  manifes- 
tations of  an  art  whose  direct  appeal  is  to  the  emotions 
only — and  to  the  suggestion  contained  in  the  absurd 
statements  formerly  printed  in  concert  programmes 
that  such  a  number  described  a  sunrise  and  such  another 
number  the  battle  of  Austerlitz.  Reading  the  pro- 
gramme, and  while  under  the  emotional  influences  of  the 
music,  no  room  was  left  for  doubt ! 

But  music  does,  always  has  and  always  will,  more 
than  any  other  single  influence,  perform  the  invaluable 
service  of  obliterating  consciousness  of  self.  The  sum 
total  of  all  the  other  inhibitions  that  stand  in  the  way  of 
truthful  and  convincing  expression  of  mind  or  emotion 
do  not  equal  the  handicap  of  dominant  self-conscious- 


Showing  the  facility  with  which  children  form  impromptu  ensembles,  as 
when  music  calls  for  a  combination  of  individual  interpretations. 

Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

ness.  It  turns  the  mind  inward  upon  itself,  upon  the 
body,  the  hands,  the  feet,  the  dress,  evoking  vanity  or 
paralyzing  with  doubts  and  trepidations;  the  free  mind 
that  had  the  universe  for  its  field  of  contemplation,  and 
was  capable  of  solving  every  finite  problem,  is  enslaved 
to  its  unimportant  envelope  and  can  express  nothing  but 

Good  music  almost  instantly  sets  the  mind  free 
through  its  powerful  action  upon  the  emotions  which  be- 
long to  the  sub-consciousness,  the  naked,  potent  ego  con- 
stituting the  real  man  or  woman.  Having  accomplished 
this  first  essential,  it  marvellously  stimulates  the  faculty 
of  imagination.  The  mind  leaps  toward  its  ideal  and 
its  processes  are  clarified  and  quickened.  Even  the  sim- 
ple melodies  played  upon  the  primitive  flute  and  the  reed 
pipes  of  the  Arcadians  possessed  these  powers,  for  those 
melodies  always  contained  rhythm  and  form;  and  it  is 
rhythm  and  form  more  than  harmony  and  color  which, 
from  the  beginning,  has  bound  music,  poetry  and  danc- 
ing together  in  a  union  that  is  indissoluble. 

For  these  reasons  we  should  avail  ourselves  of 
every  opportunity  to  listen  to  good  music.  We  possess 
it  in  a  volume  so  vast,  with  such  enormous  advantages 
of  interpretation  upon  our  perfected  instruments  and  by 
the  symphony  orchestra,  supplemented  by  widely  dis- 
tributed mechanical  interpretations  accessible  to  every- 
body, that  music  literally  is  almost  as  free  as  the  air  we 


Drigo's  Serenade — showing  how  modem  music  of  this  character  inspires  the 
creation  of  dance  movements  and  figures  adapted  from  the  purest  Greek 
models.     The  beginning  of  the  interpretation  is  shown  in  the  small  plate. 

Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

Good  music  declares  itself,  not  only  in  its  whole- 
some appeal  to  the  emotions  but  in  the  constructive  men- 
tal stimulus  it  provides.  Tempted  by  the  very  perfec- 
tions of  the  modern  orchestra,  certain  composers  with 
the  noblest  creations  standing  to  their  credit  have  ex- 
hibited decadent  tendencies  which  have  unfortunately 
become  fashionable  with  the  dillitante.  In  striving  for 
new  color  combinations  and  startling  effects  they  have 
sacrificed  rhythm,  the  very  quality  necessary  to  keep  mu- 
sic sane  and  truly  beautiful.  The  result  is  confusion  to 
the  senses  and  debilitating  to  the  mind.  It  was  the  phil- 
osopher Nietzsche's  discovery  of  this  crime  against 
music  which  influenced  him  to  recant  much  of  his  years- 
long  public  praise  of  Wagner — after  a  single  evening 
spent  under  the  spell  of  the  exquisite  and  varied  rhythms 
of  Bizet.  Latterly  Wagner  had  paralyzed  his  reasoning 
faculties ;  he  declared  that  Bizet's  rhythms  and  pure  melo- 
dies instantly  resuscitated  his  constructive  powers. 

In  our  modern  adaptation  of  the  ancient  Greek 
ideal  in  dancing,  music  supplies  us  with  never-failing 
sources  of  inspiration.  It  opens  our  natures  to  percep- 
tion of  the  beautiful,  enriches  our  faculty  of  imagery, 
compels  movements  of  grace  and  meaning,  molds  our 
bodies  into  expressions  of  its  own  forms  of  beauty  upon 
which  our  chastened  conscious  minds  play  with  all  the 
virtuosity  we  can  command. 

By  way  of  fair  exchange,  consider  what  we  give  to 
music.     The  greatest  composers  have  turned  to  the  con- 


Children  in  spontaneous  reaction  to  the  influence  of  a  single  chord  of  music, 
yet  instinctively  fusing  their  interpretations  into  a  harmonious  whole. 

Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

ventional,  artificial  ballet  for  themes  and  inspiration. 
There  exists  a  large  volume  of  music  thus  conceived,  and 
through  it  all  you  seem  to  see  pirouettes  on  painfully 
pointed  toes,  rigidly  corseted  waists  and  meaningless 
mechanical  smiles.  The  music  created  under  the  influ- 
ence of  our  dancing,  the  volume  of  which  is  steadily  in- 
creasing, reveals  no  such  ugly  skeletons;  it  is  as  graceful 
and  charming  and  spontaneous  as  are  the  gracious  qual- 
ities of  Nature  herself. 

Right  here  it  seems  well  to  point  out,  in  its  relation 
to  classic  dancing,  a  discovery  about  music  which  we 
have  applied  with  the  happiest  results — results  which  are 
fundamental  in  their  value,  and  which  the  minutiae  of  an 
arbitrary  and  rigid  technique  are  powerless  to  produce. 
Reverting  to  the  extraordinary  power  of  good  music  in 
freeing  and  developing  the  subconsciousness,  we  wish 
now  to  go  a  step  farther  and  declare  that  in  its  influence 
upon  physical  expression  the  unimpeded  operation  of  the 
subconsciousness  will  produce  instinctive  postures,  ges- 
tures and  naturally  graceful  movements  which  not  only 
clearly  and  adequately  express  the  mood  and  embody  the 
mental  image  but  more  than  equal  the  effects  of  the  high- 
est art  based  upon  a  mechanical  technique.  It  is  obvious 
that  this  must  be  so,  for  the  reason  that  the  eurythmics 
of  the  ancient  Greeks  were  developed  by  just  this  means. 
Their  natures  were  open  not  alone  to  the  influence  of 
music  but  to  every  element  of  beauty  entering  into  their 
lives.     All  these  elements  united  to  lend  beauty  to  their 


Impromptu  crisp,  dainty,  capricious  reaction  of  a  very  young  dancer  to  a 
pizzacato  movement  of  the  orchestra — hardly  to  be  improved  by  repeated 

Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

bodies  and  their  minds.  Eurythmics  became  the  tech- 
nical basis  of  their  art  of  dancing,  but  the  source  was  the 
beautiful  in  nature  and  not  the  mechanics,  the  mathemat- 
ics, of  a  technical  art. 

We  ourselves  do  not  rely  wholly  upon  music  for 
the  purpose  indicated.  Serene  contemplation  of  a 
charming  landscape,  of  white  clouds  floating  under  a  tur- 
quoise sky,  of  flowers,  of  trees,  of  shady  groves  beside 
rippling  streams,  the  same  as  with  the  Arcadians,  will 
obliterate  consciousness  of  self  and  liberate  the  real  un- 
derstanding and  creative  ego.  It  is  simply  that  music 
is  the  most  complete,  most  accessible  single  influence  of 
this  sort  of  which  we  have  any  knowledge — besides  the 
constant  usefulness  of  its  definite  rhythms  and  image- 
producing  character. 

The  most  distinguished  and  successful  modern  at- 
tempt to  combine  these  principles  with  technical  train- 
ing of  mind  and  body  is  represented  in  the  Eurythmics 
of  Jaques-Dalcroze.  We  must  admire  and  esteem  the 
achievements  of  this  great  genius  among  educators,  even 
if  we  do  not  agree  that  his  methods  with  respect  to  danc- 
ing are  an  improvement  upon  our  own,  for  his  system  is 
applied  most  happily  to  education  in  a  larger  field.  Pri- 
marily, Jaques-Dalcroze  is  a  musician  and  composer. 
He  is  a  teacher  by  grace  of  his  discovery  that  physical 
action  marked  and  governed  by  the  rhythms  of  music 
stimulated  a  deeper  mental  grasp  of  various  subjects  than 
could  be  gained  in  the  usual  ways.     Of  his  philosophy 

Both  of  these  Bacchante  figures  exhibit  original  interpretations  in  which 
beauty  of  line  is  sustained  in  connection  with  appropriate  gestures  and  facial 

Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

Professor  M.  E.   Sadler,  of  the  University  of  Leeds, 
writes : 

"The  system  of  exercises  known  as  Rhythmic  gym- 
nastics is  based  upon  two  ideas,  (i)  time  is  shown  by 
movements  of  the  arms,  (2)  time-values — note-duration 
— by  movements  of  the  feet  and  body.  In  the  early 
stages  of  the  training  this  principle  is  clearly  observed, 
later  it  may  be  varied  in  many  ingenious  ways,  for  in- 
stance in  what  is  known  as  plastic  counterpoint,  where 
the  actual  notes  played  are  represented  by  movements  of 
the  arms,  while  the  counterpoint  in  crotchets,  quavers  or 
semi-quavers,  is  given  by  the  feet.  .  .  .  When  the  move- 
ments corresponding  to  the  notes  from  the  crotchet  to 
the  whole  note  of  twelve  beats  have,  with  all  their  de- 
tails, become  a  habit,  the  pupil  need  only  make  them 
mentally,  contenting  himself  with  one  step  forward. 
This  step  will  have  the  exact  length  of  the  whole  note, 
which  will  be  mentally  analyzed  into  its  various  ele- 
ments. Although  these  elements  are  not  individually 
performed  by  the  body,  their  images  and  the  innerva- 
tions suggested  by  those  images  take  the  place  of  the 
movements.  .  .  .  The  whole  training  aims  at  developing 
the  power  of  rapid  physical  reaction  to  mental  impres- 
sions." * 

*  FiJl  justice  to  the  Jacques-Dalcroze  system  seems  to  call  for  this 
additional  quotation  from  the  same  writer:  "Another  part  of  the  work  is  to 
teach  the  pupils  to  express  the  type  of  music  that  is  being  played;  this  is 
technically  known  as  'Plastic  expression.'  The  alphabet  of  this  consists  of 
twenty  gestures  with  the  arms,  which  can  be  done  in  many  various  com- 
binations and  in  various  positions,  and  by  means  of  these  any  kind  of 
emotion  can  be  expressed." 


Music:  Twin  Sister  of  the  Dance 

We  may  perceive  from  the  foregoing  that  the 
Jaques-Dalcroze  system  is  useful  both  in  making  sound 
musicians  and  in  teaching  rhythmical  physical  expres- 
sion; but  it  is  apparent  that  the  advantage  is  much 
greater  in  the  former  than  in  the  latter  case — as,  indeed, 
is  intended.  For  the  musician,  the  composer,  an  elabo- 
rate technique  is  essential.  They  are  concerned  with 
something  that  does  not  exist  in  nature ;  they  are  creators 
through  the  medium  of  an  art  having  mathematical  val- 
ues for  its  foundation,  and  the  ingredients  for  whose  fin- 
ished and  compelling  charm  are  always  calculated. 
They  interpret,  too,  but  not  as  we  do ;  their  instruments 
— except  the  human  voice — are  purely  mechanical,  while 
we  know  and  play  upon  but  one — our  sentient  human 
body,  within  which  the  soul  and  the  mind  dwell,  enliven- 
ing and  actuating  all  its  movements  and  expressions. 

We  dance  in  time  to  the  rhythms  of  the  music  which 
inspire  our  interpretations ;  but  music,  above  all,  relaxes 
mind,  muscles  and  nerves,  enabling  them  to  receive  and 
physically  express  the  images  of  beauty  and  grace  which 
it  so  mysteriously  evokes.  Listening  to  music  makes  us 
superior  to  the  needs  of  an  elaborate  mechanical  tech- 





A  creative  adaptation  upon  the  classic  Greek  model  which  suggests  achieve- 
ment of  the  cloud-veiled  summit  of  that  ideal. 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 

^^/T  is  mainly  from  those  cherished  relics — single 
^1   figures,  groups,  and  friezes  for  the  embellishment 

of  Hellenic  architecture — that  we  gain  the  knowl- 
edge which  enables  us  to  reconstruct  the  classic  Greek 
dance,  and  to  convince  ourselves  that  it,  as  well,  has 
never  been  excelled.  In  this  task — which  is  literally  a 
labor  of  love — we  see  more  and  more  clearly  that  we  are 
pursuing  the  highest  hygienic  ideal.  The  spirit  of 
Health  breathes  in  every  inspiration  and  movement  of 
the  Greek  Dance.  But  for  the  anachronism  of  associat- 
ing one  of  the  later  deities  with  one  of  the  original  Greek 
pantheon  we  should  be  justified  in  the  impression  that 
Terpsichore,  Goddess  of  the  Dance,  enjoyed  the  full  con- 
fidence and  counsel  of  Hygeia,  Goddess  of  Health. 

Happily,  here  we  are  in  direct  accord  with  the 
most  advanced  modern  science.  It  is  an  axiom  of  physi- 
ology that  rational — that  is  enjoyable,  pleasurable — ex- 
ercise of  mind  and  body  is  the  only  single  thing  that  can 
be  depended  upon  to  promote  and  maintain  the  condition 


The  ocean  beach,  upon  which  the  surf  rolls  rhythmically,  or  is  broken  upon 
half  submerged  rocks,  incites  to  the  most  open  free  and  vital  dancing 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 

of  health.  In  the  face  of  such  a  direct  and  simple 
method,  what  an  extraordinary  waste  of  time  and  energy 
is  comprehended  in  the  complicated  structure  of  rules 
and  regulations  prescribed  by  Science  for  hygienic  liv- 
ing! The  chemistry  of  food,  the  balanced  ration — so 
much  protein  in  such  ratio  with  carbohydrate,  and  so  on, 
and  so  on;  the  intricacies  of  digestion  and  metabolism; 
in  short,  the  elaborately  worked  out  assumption  that  our 
poor  finite  minds  are  capable  both  of  understanding  and 
directing  the  operations  of  the  most  marvellous  of  labora- 
tories. Nature's  own — what  a  monument  to  squandered 
intelligence !  All  we  have  to  do  is  to  keep  our  minds  and 
bodies  normal  by  a  natural  way  of  living ;  Nature  can  be 
trusted  to  carry  on  her  own  processes.  Regular  and  suf- 
ficient exercise  in  the  open  air  maintains  the  efficiency  of 
those  processes.  Normal  appetite  is  the  instinct  which 
selects  needful  food  and  limits  the  amount  consumed. 
Overeating  is  the  result,  as  well  as  a  cause,  of  lack  of 
health.  With  natural  living,  needful  sleep  and  bathing 
and  clothing  are  secured  instinctively.  Rational  exer- 
cise simply  and  agreeably  solves  the  whole  problem  of 

Of  all  systems  of  health-giving  exercise,  dancing 
as  it  ought  to  be  is,  from  every  viewpoint,  the  most  de- 
sirable. We  have  endeavored  to  show  that  this  means 
dancing  developed  from  the  Greek  model.  It  is  signifi- 
cant that  the  draperies  of  most  of  the  sculptured  Greek 
dancers  seem  blown  by  the  wind.     We  have  many  rea- 


Reacting  to  the  breath  of  Spring — the  most  compelling  of  all  impulses  to 
dance,  and  provocative  of  the  most  joyous  physical  expression. 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 

sons  for  believing  that  dancing  in  its  classic  purity  was 
nearly  always  in  that  temple  roofed  by  the  blue  sky  and 
floored  by  the  green  earth,  decorated  with  living  strccuns 
and  shady  groves.  Here  the  first  attribute  of  health 
was  assured — serenity  of  mind.  The  Greek  passion  for 
the  beauty  of  symmetry  eliminated  all  forms  of  exercise 
calculated  to  develop  one  part  of  the  body  at  the  expense 
of  the  others.  They  adored  strength,  but  abhorred 
muscle  in  disproportion.  Strength  with  grace  was  their 
ideal,  and  this  they  gained  with  the  greatest  certainty 
through  the  rhythmical  movements  of  their  dance. 

In  our  revival  of  dancing  in  its  purest  form  we  find 
all  these  theories  amply  borne  out.  Although  we  have 
not,  at  least  in  the  same  degree,  the  serene  repose  of  mind 
and  spirit  which  the  ancient  Greeks  possessed  as  a  heri- 
tage, we  find  that  the  habitual  practice  of  dancing  as 
they  danced  has  a  happy  tendency  to  overcome  any  such 
deficiency.  With  our  mercurial  temperament  we  are 
able  to  add  a  certain  gayety  which,  evidently,  was  not  in 
their  character;  but  it  is,  nevertheless,  health-inspiring  of 
itself,  while  broadening  our  powers  of  interpretation. 

Not  only  health,  but  alertness  of  mind  and  general 
physical  efficiency  are  the  reward  of  truly  beautiful 
dancing.  Such  a  dancer  walks  like  a  superior  being,  sur- 
rounded by  an  atmosphere  of  personal  triumph.  What- 
ever the  kind  of  work  she  does,  it  is  performed  with  such 
economy  of  physical  effort  that  her  body  hardly  feels  the 
poisons  of  fatigue.     Having  the  soundest  of  health,  she 


Representing  joyous  abandonment  to  an  impulse  of  Nature's  gently  per- 
suasive mood — as  of  floating  forwcird  borne  upon  a  Summer  breeze. 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 

is  never  handicapped  by  the  inhibitions  of  depressed 
spirits.  Efficient  in  dancing  as  dancing  ought  to  be,  and 
will  be,  she  is  efficient  in  all  else  she  undertakes — accord- 
ing to  her  natural  endowment  of  ability. 

In  considering  the  details  which  enter  into  this 
health  consummation,  these  are  important:  The  vital 
organs  of  this  ideally  normal  being  are  not  strangled  by 
corsets  laced  up  to  the  last  notch — any  form  of  stays,  in 
fact,  are  prohibited  as  ridiculous.  Toes  are  not  dislo- 
cated in  efforts  to  compel  them  to  bear  the  body's  entire 
weight;  the  effect  of  buoyancy  is  more  effectively  pro- 
duced by  graceful  and  natural  poising  of  the  body  upon 
the  ball  of  the  foot.  Neither  are  the  feet,  with  their  axis 
a  straight  line  from  the  attachment  of  the  Achilles  ten- 
don to  the  ball  of  the  great  toe,  forced  outward  to  form  a 
grotesque  right  angle  to  their  natural  position — a  tortur- 
ing and  injurious  strain  to  the  whole  extremity  to  the 
height  of  the  knee  and  a  positive  menace  to  the  general 

Nature  designed  every  part  of  our  bodies  for  use, 
and  it  is  use  in  a  natural  manner  that  sustains  health  and 
vitality.  In  our  revival  of  the  dancing  ideal  which  con- 
forms to  this  law  the  feet  and  lower  limbs  are  no  more 
important  than  are  other  members  of  the  body,  except 
that  they  bear  the  burden  of  the  body's  weight.  The 
arms,  the  hands,  the  chest,  the  neck,  the  head — all  are 
employed  at  every  moment,  and  never  singly  nor  arbi- 
trarily.    The  chest  is  expanded,  the  droop  taken  out  of 


Arms  outstretched,  and  raised  together,  in  movements  which  avoid  unaes- 
thetic  angles,  even  in  the  energetic  action  shovvn  on  the  left.  The  open, 
raised  bust  in  the  large  figure  illustrates  the  hygienic  value  of  adhering  to 
the  heart  centre  of  £dl  true  physical  expression. 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 

the  shoulders;  and  with  the  raising  of  the  chest  in  ex- 
pansion the  abdomen  is  automatically  drawn  in  and  held 
in  place  by  the  revitalized  and  strengthened  broad  liga- 
ment—^and  all  fatiguing  pressure  is  ^aken  off  the  sensi- 
tive lower  part  of  the  back,  where  those  delicate  and  im- 
portant organs,  the  kidneys,  are  located. 

Health:  "A  sound  mind  in  a  sound  body."  Hy- 
geia  was  its  goddess.  The  more  we  dwell  upon  the  sub- 
ject the  more  we  are  inclined  to  believe  that  Hygeia  must 
have  been  the  tutor  of  Terpsichore,  as  well  as  her  sister 
deity ! 

In  a  previous  chapter  dealing  with  the  unhygienic 
tyranny  of  conventional  clothing  we  have  quoted  some 
admirable  conclusions  by  Lieutenant  Mueller,  the  cele- 
brated physical  expert  of  the  Danish  Army  whose  advice 
and  personal  training  has  been  sought  by  many  famous 
men  and  women.  Perhaps  with  deeper  insight  and  wider 
experience  than  are  manifested  by  any  other  living 
authority.  Lieutenant  Mueller  seems  perfectly  to  actual- 
ize that  axiom  of  Lord  Bacon: 

"There  is  wisdom  in  this  beyond  the  rules  of 
physic.  A  man's  own  observation,  what  he  finds  good  of 
and  what  he  finds  hurt  of,  is  the  best  physic  to  preserve 

Through  actual  experience  he  finds  "hurt  of" 
clothes,  and  he  finds  healthful  "good  of"  natural  exercise 
in  the  open  air,  even  under  a  blazing  sun,  to  a  degree  that 
makes  of  medicine  a  useless  invention.     Our  philosophy 


A  gentle  and  pleasantly  expectant  expression  of  aspiration — the  lines  of  the 
entire  body,  arms,  neck  and  head,  having  an  upward  tendency. 

Our  Contribution  to  Healtk 

and  practice  of  dancing  are  in  perfect  agreement  with  the 
precepts  of  this  expert.  In  the  way  of  exercise  he  gives 
running  the  highest  place.  We  have  the  best  of  reasons 
to  applaud  this  judgment,  inasmuch  as  Lieutenant  Muel- 
ler is  not  a  dancer;  for  is  not  running  an  important  ele- 
ment of  all  dancing  founded  upon  the  classic  model? 
For  health,  our  exercise  of  dancing  includes  his  favorite 
exercise  of  running  and  adds  to  it  not  only  every  possible 
natural  and  graceful  movement  of  the  body  and  limbs  but 
also  the  invaluable  motive  of  definite  and  complete  phys- 
ical self-expression. 

In  these  days  of  sim  parlors  and  almost  perfect 
systems  of  ventilation,  all  exercise  becomes  virtually 
open  air  exercise.  In  case  weather  conditions  make  it 
uncomfortable  to  be  out  of  doors,  there  is  no  longer 
nardly  any  excuse  for  subjecting  one's  self  to  the  evil 
influences  of  poisonous  air.*  It  is  therefore  simply  igno- 
rance and  neglect — which  doubtless  some  day  will  be  de- 

*  Therefore,  we,  even  more  than  Mueller,  are  entitled  to  believe  as 
he  writes:  "Fresh  air  being  not  only  the  preventive,  but  also  the  cure,  of 
most  diseases,  it  is  surely  the  most  powerful  factor  in  promoting  longevity. 
There  is  and  always  has  been  a  good  deal  of  speculation  as  to  the  length 
of  man's  life,  as  originally  intended  by  Nature,  and  opinions  as  to  the  allotted 
span  range  between  eighty  and  one  hundred  and  forty  years.  There  can  be 
no  doubt  that  the  latter  number  is  more  nearly  correct.  If  a  man,  from 
his  birth  upwards,  lived  under  perfect  hygienic  conditions,  senile  decay 
could  not  possibly  begin  xintil  he  was  nearing  an  age  of  one  hundred  and 
fifty  years.  Evidence  in  support  of  this  is  negative;  in  the  face  of  the 
inexorable  law,  that  every  cause  has  its  effect,  it  cannot  be  accepted  that  all 
the  different  hygienic  offenses  ought  not  to  have  any  shortening  influence 
on  a  man's  age.  The  most  common  hygienic  offense  of  which  we  all,  with- 
out exception,  are,  or  have  been,  guilty,  is  that  of  breathing  tainted  air. 
Here  apparently  is  the  chief  cause  of  our  too-limited  existence.  Every  tissue 
and  every  nerve  has  been,  therefore,  inoculated  with  some  kind  of  poison, 
and  has  lost  entirely  its  power  of  resistance  and  its  faculty  of  existence.  .  .  . 
Nietzsche  was  certainly  correct  when  he  declared  that  the  meanness  of  life 
of  our  present  generation,  and  its  lack  of  ability  to  live,  was  attributable 
to  our  'musty  store  and  cellar  air.'" 


All  true  physical  expression  has  its  generative  centre  in  the  region  of  the 
heart,  the  same  as  the  emotions  which  actuate  it.  Movements  flowing  from 
any  other  source  are  aesthetically  futile. 

Our  Contribution  to  Health 

dared  criminal — which  accounts  for  normally  born  per- 
sons missing  the  joys  of  life  because  of  easily  avoided 
insignificant  ailments.  The  whole  idea  is  far  from  new. 
Two  centuries  ago  Dryden  wrote : 

Better  to  hunt  in  fields  for  health  unbought 
Than  fee  the  doctor  for  a  nauseous  draught. 
The  wise  for  cure  on  exercise  depend; 
God  never  made  his  work  for  man  to  mend. 

And  Thomas  Gray,  of  about  the  same  period,  picturing 
the  healthy  man: 

From  toil  he  wins  his  spirits  light, 
From  busy  day  the  peaceful  night ; 
Rich,  from  the  very  want  of  wealth, 
In  heaven's  best  treasures,  peace  and  health. 

While  Thomson,  word-painter  of  the  most  exquisite 
landscapes  that  exist  in  English  poetry,  might  almost  be 
suspected  of  being  a  classic  Greek  dancer,  writing  thus : 

I  care  not,  Fortvme,  what  you  me  deny : 
You  cannot  rob  me  of  free  Nature's  grace, 
You  cannot  shut  the  windows  of  the  sky 
Through  which  Aurora  shows  her  brightening  face ; 
You  cannot  bar  my  constant  feet  to  trace 
The  woods  and  lawns,  by  living  stream,  at  eve: 
Let  health  my  nerves  and  finer  fibres  brace. 
And  I  their  toys  to  the  great  children  leave : 
Of  fancy,  reason,  virtue,  naught  can  me  bereave. 

And,  as  though  to  give  the  subject  its  final  word: 

Health  is  the  vital  principle  of  bliss. 
And  exercise,  of  health. 

The  Greek  dancer  alone,  in  all  the  world  filled  with 
people  who  practise  some  form  of  that  art  either  for  gain 


Our  Contribution  to  Health 

or  for  recreation,  fully  justifies  her  right  to  the  God-given 
upright  position.  Whatever  postures  or  movements  are 
demanded  in  her  dancing  creations  or  interpretations,  the 
intervals,  however  brief,  are  always  marked  by  an  instant 
return  to  the  erect,  full-bosomed  poise  representing  aspira- 

This  habit  of  aspiring  to  the  skies  tends  always  to 
develop  powers  of  mind  and  qualities  of  soul  which  are  the 
most  potent  of  all  producers  of  health  of  body.  The 
grovelling  mind  dwells  in  a  flabby,  cringing  envelope  in- 
capable of  resisting  the  evils  that  are  ever  ready  to  attack 
it,  either  from  within  or  without.  The  bodies  of  the 
mentally  deficient  are  always  defective.  But  when  the 
mind  is  alert  and  the  spirit  uplifted  by  the  joy  of  physical 
participation  in  any  of  the  aesthetic  activities  of  civilized 
existence,  continuous  health  of  the  normal  body — barring 
accident — is  assured. 

We  believe  that  we  are  warranted  in  the  assertion 
that  no  known  means  of  attaining  this  ideal  condition 
equals  the  dance  as  we  practise  it. 


/^/^-APPINESS:       HEALTH    PLUS 
4|J    KNOWING     AND     LIVING 
"^f     THE    THINGS    THAT    ARE 

A  modem  Aurora  on  a  misty  morning  dancing  with  dew-laden  ferns.  The 
Greek  dancer's  vital  body,  though  lightly  draped,  is  proof  against  such  slight 


Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

ALL  that  we  have  stated  or  quoted  thus  far  bears 
directly  upon  the  subject  of  our  dancing.  Our 
division  of  the  general  subject  under  such  heads 
as  Clothes,  Sculpture,  Music,  Health,  is  to  give  emphasis 
to  the  importance  of  those  elements.  They  are  not  to  be 
dissociated  from  the  practice  of  dancing  according  to  the 
classic  model.  And  this  brings  us  to  the  element  which 
is  chief  of  them  all — Happiness.  For,  besides  being  the 
greatest  desire  of  humanity,  happiness  includes  all  of 
Health,  much  of  Music,  something  of  Sculpture,  and  is 
in  perpetual  warfare  with  the  tyrant,  Clothes.  In  danc- 
ing with  us,  who  ignore  Fashion  for  draperies  that  are 
graceful  and  adequate,  you  are  delivering  a  mortal  blow 
at  that  tyrant  while  pursuing  the  direct  road  to  the  goal 
of  happiness.  Happiness  does  not  consist  merely  in  be- 
ing a  spectator ;  it  is  in  doing  and  living  the  things  that 
are  beautiful.     Marcus  Aurelius  put  it  this  way: 

"The  happiness  and  unhappiness  of  the  rational, 
social  animal  depends  not  on  what  he  feels  but  on  what 

One  Hundred  One 

Bacchante.  Showing  the  moment  of  lustful  anticipation  of  delight  in  the 
intoxicating  product  of  the  fruit — as  though  hardly  to  be  restrained  from 
seizing  and  devouring  at  once. 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

he  does;  just  as  his  virtue  and  vice  consist  not  in  feeling 
but  in  doing." 

When  you  dance  with  us  you  will  "do"  something 
which  will  give  you  a  new  understanding  of  at  least  two 
of  the  choicest  gems  in  the  poetry  of  Keats: 

Beauty  is  truth,  truth  beauty — that  is  all 
Ye  know  on  earth,  and  all  ye  need  to  know. 

And  this  other: 

A  thing  of  beauty  is  a  joy  forever; 
Its  loveliness  increases;  it  will  never 
Pass  into  nothingness. 

Now  poets,  of  course,  are  endowed  with  a  very  ex- 
ceptional capacity  for  perceiving  and  knowing  beauty. 
The  majority  of  human  kind  are  comparatively  unde- 
veloped in  this  regard,  and  their  capacity  for  happiness  is 
correspondingly  restricted.  This  is  mainly  because  they 
do  not  habitually  do  and  live  the  things  that  are  beauti- 
ful. A  fully  developed  aesthetic  sense  is  not  to  be  gained 
by  the  mere  spectator;  he  must  have  a  consciousness  of 
participation,  and  in  some  way  he  must  express  that  con- 
sciousness. We  cannot  all  be  creative  geniuses — poets, 
sculptors,  painters,  composers  of  music ;  but  all  of  us  who 
are  normal  beings  can  learn  to  actively  respond  to  the 
influences  which  they  exert,  especially  the  influence  of 

Young  children  usually  are  considered  to  be  sim- 
ply "little  animals."  But  watch  them  in  the  presence  of 
some  powerful  manifestation  of  beauty.     What  child 

One  Hundred  Three 

An  expression  of  pleasurable  relaxation  pervading  the  entire  body— a  com- 
plete reeiction  to  influences  that  are  pervasive  in  their  sweetness  and  charm. 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

does  not  almost  instantly  respond,  both  physically  and 
psychically,  to  that  masterpiece  of  Nature,  a  perfect 
morning  in  June?  The  small  boy  tears  off  the  hated 
shoes  and  stockings  and  races  with  joyous  whoops  over 
the  cool  greensward.  The  little  girl  shows  her  longing 
to  follow  him ;  she  is  only  restrained  by  the  conventions 
with  which  so  many  mothers  oppress  the  souls  and 
bodies  of  their  feminine  offspring.  But  her  breast 
heaves,  her  eyes  sparkle :  she  lets  herself  go  to  the  limit 
of  the  sense  of  freedom  left  in  her,  and  now  and  then 
there  is  one  whose  actions  declare  her  to  be  in  open  re- 
volt. She  doesn't  care !  Let  them  call  her  a  "tomboy" 
if  they  like !  Off  come  hei  shoes  and  stockings,  her  hat, 
her  apron — every  article  of  clothing  she  can  modestly 
dispense  with — and  away  she  goes!  She  is  expressing 
her  sense  of  beauty  and  developing  her  capacity  for  hap- 
piness. And  from  that  cause  will  spring  a  contented  and 
useful  woman.* 

And  music.     What  normal  child  ever  is  seen  to  as- 
sume a  detached  attitude  toward  music  which  conveys 

*  Here,  again,  the  author  omits  what  her  editor  considers  woidd  be 
an  interesting  and  valuable  personal  application.  In  one  of  a  series  of  mag- 
azine articles  bearing  her  signature  she  writes:  "To  tell  you  how  I  became 
interested  in,  absorbed  by,  the  Greek  dance,  it  will  be  necessary  for  me  to 
depart  briefly  from  my  habit  and  become  personal.  I  am  a  western  girl 
and  spent  my  childhood  in  the  freedom  of  the  western  prairies.  I  shocked 
my  family  and  our  neighbors  by  nmning  about  barefoot.  It  wasn't  a  bad 
habit,  but  a  very  good  one.  All  women  would  be  healthier  and  more  grace- 
ful if  they  bared  their  feet  when  in  their  own  homes.  I  rJin  and  played 
and  tiunbled  with  hunting  dogs.  They  were  pointers.  How  naturally 
graceful  were  all  their  movements!  I  have  never  had  to  unlearn  what  they 
taught  me."  The  studious  reader  of  the  connected  essays  on  classic  Greek 
dancing  which  form  the  text  of  this  book  will,  perhaps,  find  in  the  personal 
experience  just  described  sufficient  warrant  for  the  author's  repeated  as- 
sertions that  cultivation  of  the  impulse  to  dance  is  more  important  and 
should  precede  any  effort  to  acqiure  a  mechanical  technique. — Ed. 

One  Hundred  Five 

The  race,  adapted  from  the  classic  Greek  games,  is  useful  in  dance  interpre- 
tations combining  grace  and  swiftness  of  movement.  The  silhouettes  com- 
pare fantastic  with  natural  grace  of  movement. 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

any  sense  of  rhythm?  You  see  at  once  that  telltale  liven- 
ing of  the  eye,  a  spiritual  exaltation  reflected  in  the 
countenance,  and  soon  the  whole  body  begins  to  react  to 
this  special  influence  of  beauty;  the  child  is  living  that 
thing  of  beauty  and  creating  more  beauty — for  she  is 
dancing!  In  virtually  the  same  way  her  body  and  her 
soul  had  reacted,  and  she  had  become  a  component  part 
of  the  beauty  of  that  perfect  morning  in  June.  Children 
are  rarely  outsiders ;  they  do  and  live  the  things  that  are 

Herein  is  the  lesson:  Because  the  passing  of  years 
oppresses  us  with  the  thought  that  we  are  no  longer 
children  is  not  material,  so  long  as  we  retain  health  and 
a  certain  amount  of  vigor;  all  we  have  to  do  is  to  destroy 
consciousness  of  self — health  and  vigor,  and  a  restored 
receptivity  will  do  the  rest. 

In  our  dancing  according  to  the  classic  model, 
which  makes  of  the  body  an  instrument  for  the  expres- 
sion of  all  thought  and  emotion,  there  is  a  fundamental 
principle  which  we  call  "opening  and  closing,"  or  "fold- 
ing and  unfolding."  The  latter,  perhaps,  is  the  more 
expressive.  At  the  approach  of  danger,  or  when  the 
emotion  is  the  reverse  of  pleasurable  from  any  cause,  the 
body — the  whole  nature  of  the  dancer — folds  inward 
upon  itself,  as  though  shrinking  from  or  denying  the 
thing  to  which  it  is  passively,  or  even  actively  antagonis- 
tic. If  the  emotion  be  pleasurable  the  body  expresses  it 
in  a  manner  exactly  the  contrary ;  the  whole  nature,  now 

One  Bundred  Seven 

Here  a  young  dancer's  interpretative  impulse  is  actuated  by  the  motion  of 
the  ocean's  waves — an  example  of  the  emotions  profoundly  stirred  by  man- 
ifestations of  Nature. 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

joyously  giving  or  receiving,  unfolds — as  the  petals  of  a 
flower  unfold  to  receive  the  warmth  of  the  sun  and  to 
give  forth  the  wealth  of  its  perfume.  Children,  in  the 
physical  expression  of  their  emotions,  adhere  to  this 
principle  instinctively.  That  is  because  they  lack  self- 
consciousness.  This  statement  is  proved  by  the  well 
known  facility  children  have  for  play-acting,  for  inter- 
preting characters  not  their  own.  The  illusion  furnished 
by  their  "make  believe"  is  almost  perfect,  for  themselves 
as  well  as  for  the  beholder.  Only  the  born  histrionic 
genius  is  more  capable  of  utterly  forgetting  self.  Supe- 
riority, in  fact,  lies  on  the  side  of  the  children,  for  in  the 
adult  actor,  however  versatile  he  may  be,  the  effect  is 
more  apt  to  be  calculated,  the  result  of  long-practised 
technique,  than  a  consequence  of  perfect  self-sub- 

This  quality  of  childhood  which  unites  ingenuous- 
ness with  such  natural  versatility  in  portrayal  is  one  that 
we  cultivate  most  assiduously  in  our  practice  and  teach- 
ing of  dancing.  It  is  our  chief  aid  in  realizing  the  all- 
important  ideal  of  getting  back  to  Arcady.  If  we  are 
able  to  "make  believe"  that  we  are  Arcadians,  presto! 
to  all  intents  and  purposes  we  are  Arcadians,  and  pro- 
ceed to  do  as  the  Arcadians  did. 

The  very  moment  in  which  that  mental  transfor- 
mation is  achieved  one  enters  into  possession  of  a  reper- 
tory of  characterizations  the  most  poetic  conceivable  and 
covering  the  whole  field  of  idyllic  emotion  and  action. 

One  Hundred  Nine 

The  idea  of  Pan  inspires  the  Greek  dancer  with  a  charming  variety  of  inter- 
pretations of  a  lyrical,  as  well  as  of  a  sprightly  and  mischievous,  character. 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

In  their  greater  and  lesser  deities  and  the  earth-born 
children  of  their  gods  and  goddesses  the  ancient  Greeks 
personified  every  attribute  of  Nature,  every  human  am- 
bition and  activity.  To  them  these  beings  were  real,  as 
actual  as  themselves.  That  they  were  not  visible  to 
mortal  eyes  served  still  further  to  exalt  and  permanently 
establish  them,  and  to  increase  the  potency  of  the  spell 
which  they  exercised  over  all  minds.  What  an  advan- 
tage they  held,  still  hold,  over  the  frankly  fictitious  char- 
acters of  our  modern  novels  and  dramas,  the  most  heroic 
or  charming  of  which  seem  to  live  for  a  day,  then  to  grad- 
ually fade  into  the  mists  of  memory ! 

Those  ever-living  creations  of  the  classic  Greek 
poets  supplied  every  variant  of  interpretative  inspiration 
of  which  the  ancient  Greek  dancer  felt  the  need.  That 
was  their  task — to  impersonate,  to  interpret  the  attri- 
butes of  the  immortal  heroes  and  heroines  of  Olympus 
and  to  portray  the  lives  and  deeds  of  their  children  of 
earthly  birth  whose  names  sprinkle  the  pages  of  Homer 
and  Virgil ;  and,  in  lighter  vein,  to  depict  the  sports  and 
loves  of  the  humbler,  happier  creatures  of  the  streams 
and  woodland  glades.  That,  too,  is  our  most  agreeable 
and  beneficial  task.  For  the  advantage  of  self-sub- 
mergence in  a  series  of  definite  and  inspiring  characters 
cannot  be  over-estimated,  and  for  us  who  dance  the  ideal 
characters  are  these  immortal  creatures  of  Arcady. 

The  moment  you  enter  into  the  characters  of  an 
ancient  Greek  Nymph  or  Naiad,  daughter  of  a  River  God, 

One  Himdred  Eleven 

Woodland  interpretation.    The  ocean-born  Aphrodite  being  adorned  by  God- 
desses of  the  Seasons  for  her  first  appearance  among  her  peers  on  Olympus. 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

you  are  emancipated  from  all  that  reminds  you  of  the  en- 
vironment of  your  modern  conventional  existence.  Your 
body  no  longer  is  the  slave  of  Fashion.  It  is  draped,  not 
clothed.  These  draperies — merely  a  filmy  envelope  for 
the  body — offer  no  restraint  to  the  freest  movement  of 
any  member,  and  they  add,  rather  than  detract  as  clothes 
do,  to  the  body's  grace  and  beauty.  Perhaps  you  have  a 
scarf,  so  light  that  it  is  the  sport  of  every  zephyr.  This 
gracious  freedom  of  the  body  is  symbolical  of  all  that 
enters  into  your  idyllic  life — your  poetic  sylvan  envi- 
ronment, your  ignorance  of  the  meaning  of  such  words 
as  care  or  worry.  You  are  a  creature  whose  birthright 
is  pure  joy.  Ordinary  mortals  walk;  you  dance.  Of 
course — how  can  you  help  dancing?  Now,  throwing 
aside  your  scarf,  you  join  a  group  of  sister  nymphs  who 
are  bathing  in  the  sunlit  stream.  The  rustling  of  the 
reeds  on  the  bank  is  music  in  your  ears.  It  blends  with 
distant  strains  from  the  pipes  of  Pan.  Presently  you 
demonstrate  that  your  shapely  limbs  are  made  for  run- 
ning as  well  as  dancing.  Startled  by  the  approach  of  a 
mischievous  young  faun,  you  leave  the  stream  and,  seiz- 
ing your  scarf,  run  from  his  presence  with  the  speed  and 
grace  of  Atalanta  herself.  But  it  is  only  sport  after  all, 
for  the  fauns,  the  dryads,  the  naiads,  are  all  daughters 
and  sons  of  the  deities  of  woods  and  streams,  your  fellow 
creatures  of  this  happy  sylvan  world. 

It  is  Autumn.     The  leaves  are  turning,  the  harvest 
is  over  and  the  vintage  is  on.    Green  leaves  are  entwined 

One  Hundred  Thirteen 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

in  your  tresses — you  are  a  Bacchante.  You  owe  tribute 
of  devotion  to  Dionysos,  god  of  wine,  whom  the  Romans 
called  Bacchus.  But  as  you  are  in  the  character  of  a  bac- 
chante of  the  classic  period,  the  revels  are  not  unseemly. 
You  do  not  become  intoxicated  with  wine,  only  mildly 
exhilarated.  Ruthless  satyrs  and  the  gross  Silenus  came 
later  when  the  Golden  Age  had  passed  from  twilight  into 
total  darkness.  You  press  out  the  purple  grapes  with 
your  feet.  You  carry  large  bunches  of  the  fruit  in  your 
hands,  and  you  bear  gracefully  upon  one  shoulder,  sup- 
ported by  the  upraised  arm,  vessels  brimming  with  the 
generous  new  vintage.  As  Dionysos  represented  the 
social  and  beneficent  influences  of  the  vintage,  all  your 
fellow  creatures  of  the  woods  and  streams  are  there — 
young  fauns  girdled  with  skins,  trophies  of  the  chase; 
Pan,  discoursing  sweet  music  on  his  pipes;  sister  bac- 
chantes innumerable,  and  mortals  old  and  young,  for 
pressing  the  grapes  and  storing  the  wine  is  the  serious 
business  of  mortals.  It  may  be  that  Artemis — Diana  of 
the  Romans — lends  her  chaste  beauty  to  the  scene  for  a 
moment,  returning  with  her  nymphs  and  dogs  from  the 
chase.  Perhaps  Ares — the  Roman  Mars — god  of  war 
and  half-brother  to  Dionysos,  may  pause  in  passing  to 
doff  his  plumed  helmet  in  honor  of  the  occasion — in 
which  event  it  would  be  reasonable  to  expect  the  pres- 
ence of  Aphrodite,  also! 

And  it  all  means  dancing.     Dancing  as  we  dance 
provides  the  only  adequate  visioning  forth  of  the  classic 

On«  Hundred  Fourteen 

Dancing  Back  to  Arcady 

activities  of  Arcady.  And  when  we  dance  with  our 
actual  selves  transformed  into  living  embodiments  of 
these  fabled,  yet  immortal  beings,  our  feet  are  upon  the 
straight  highway  leading  to  our  ultimate  goal — creative 
adaptation  of  classic  Greek  dancing  to  the  aesthetic  and 
hygienic  needs  of  our  own  time. 

Greek  dancing,  as  we  practise  and  teach  it,  means 
infinitely  more  than  the  most  faithful  mere  imitation  of 
that  very  ancient  art.  It  is  a  philosophy  of  living  and 
doing  which  contains  beneficent  precepts  available  for 
the  personal  application  of  every  human  being.  To  be 
emancipated  from  the  drag  of  ill  health,  or  the  dread  of 
it;  to  be  able  laughingly  to  defy  that  curse  of  our  very 
modern  social  life,  neurasthenia;  to  smilingly  face  old 
age  with  every  nerve  still  tingling  with  the  joy  of  living; 
to  know  all  beauty,  not  merely  as  a  spectator  but  as  an 
active  participant — are  not  these  real  benefits,  well  worth 
seizing  even  from  the  hands  of  a  "Greek  dancer"  ?  Greek 
games  also  are  within  the  Greek  dancer's  province. 
They  will  develop  into  Graeco-American  games — more 
enticing,  perhaps,  to  the  masculine  mind,  and  compre- 
hending the  same  advantages.  Truly,  Arcady  is  a 
blessed  land.  Why  not,  everyone,  say  proudly  with  the 
poet  Goethe:  "I  also  was  born  in  Arcady?"  And  add, 
with  yet  more  significance :  "And  in  Arcady  henceforth 
shall  I  dwell." 

One  Hundred  Fifteen 




o     OF  Ci 



Santa  Barbara 




Ju    >.JVa£ll  3H1 

°     JLUSaJ/irin   Ji' 


o    THE  linHAOY  OF    o 

vj'.'oava  vim/5  , 


D     000  364  750     o 

o     VINHOilWD  JO    o 

O  VUV9aV9  VINVS  o 

O     AilSJl3/MNn  3HI    O 

o     VINtlOit1V3  JO 


o  vaveava  vinvs  o 







o     JkIiSa3AlNn  3M1    o 

«  JO  Aavji;ii  5H1 


tw'uNivERsrrY^  o  „  of  CAnrofiNi 





\  „     „  / 

o    THE  VJNlVEHSItV    a 




r  ^ 










»  SANIA  BAR6ABA   o  . 

0     VINSOJllVO  JO 


ViNVS   o 






J     «K 





^  r 



O     UIS»3MNn  SHI    o 



o  VmOMt  »1NV5  o 

o    THE  UNIVERSnrV     o 

-I r 

0    SANIA  BARflABA    » 

SAr^l,s  BAt;iAftA 



o    JO  ASVlrtll  3H1    "